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KuCoin hack: Over a million XRP moved… to a defunct exchange?

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Cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin’s hack has been the talking point of the week, with the culprits involved later making headlines after they tried to move the stolen crypto onto several decentralized exchanges.

The hack and its perpetrators are in the news again today after Whale Alert revealed that part of the stolen funds, including a lot of XRP, was being moved in batches onto a host of crypto-exchanges. The exchanges in question included Huobi, Binance, and BYEX.   

Interestingly, within moments of Whale Alerts’ tweets, many users on crypto-Twitter flagged the transfer and looped in the exchanges in question, asking them to freeze the stolen funds. While at the time of writing Huobi was yet to take a step towards the same, CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao (CZ), tweeted that his team was “already on it.”  

Binance isn’t the only entity taking such steps, however. Tether CTO Paolo Ardoino had previously confirmed that Tether had successfully frozen a total of 22 million USDT in stolen funds that had been transferred. Even Ampleforth (AMPL) announced that it had disabled the transfer of 14.82 million AMPL tokens (about $10.89 million) by the KuCoin hackers. 

Oddly, some on Twitter have started speculating about why Huobi, which received several transfers of the stolen funds, had not frozen the funds yet. Such speculations were fueled after a report by Chainanalysis found that Binance and Huobi were among the two exchanges to have received the most funds (around $1.4 billion in Bitcoin) from criminal entities in 2019. 

Image Source: Chainanalysis

That’s not all, however. As mentioned previously, according to Whale Alert, over a million XRP in stolen funds was also transferred to little-known BYEX exchange. This development seemed to take many on Twitter by surprise since the exchange in question claims to have suspended its operations back in June, with its website deactivated at the time of writing too.

What’s more, an older Whale Alert tweet had previously reported that a “significant portion of the funds” from the UpBit exchange hack were deposited on BYEX.

Image Source: Twitter/Whale Alerts

Such oddities have fueled more speculations, with some claiming that the exchange hasn’t closed, was a scam, and was perhaps, a destination for laundering illicit funds. Whatever the truth may be, these developments seem to have confounded the larger crypto-community. At least for now. 


Alisha is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto. Her interests lie in blockchain technology, crypto-crimes, and market developments in Africa and the United States
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