In an effort to project solvency and health, Bitfinex has released a flurry of promotional tweets lauding the financial successes of its top traders. This comes the same week that a pair of alleged Bitfinex hackers are due to appear in court, with all the attendant publicity.
“This week the top traders in the Bitfinex Leaderboard are still at the top of their game!” posted Bitfinex on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). The exchange claims trader EGAF leads with $4.4 million in unrealized profits.
Bitfinex Lost 119,754 Bitcoin in the 2016 Hack
The social media posts are laudatory. But this week, the company and its traders may remember darker times, as a reputed hacker couple appear before a Manhattan court.
Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan are due for a plea hearing on Thursday, August 3. Authorities arrested the so-called “crypto couple” in 2022 following what the DOJ called its “largest financial seizure.”
The pair are expected to plead guilty to charges regarding their alleged hacking of the Bitfinex exchange in 2016. The charges also relate to the subsequent laundering of $4.5 billion in stolen funds.
Bitfinex is currently the eighth largest crypto spot exchange by trading volume. But the hack was a blow, by any measure.
In February 2022, the US government recovered some of the stolen Bitcoin (BTC), then valued at $3.6 billion.
Authorities tracked the loot by decrypting a file owned by Ilya Lichtenstein. The file contained addresses and private keys linked to the stolen funds.
The Hacker Couple to Plead Guilty
The couple allegedly converted hundreds of millions of dollars into fiat currency. Although, the original wallet linked to the attack still held about 80% of the stolen Bitcoin.
At the time of the attack, the 119,754 bitcoin stolen from Bitfinex were worth about $72 million.
The Taiwan-based exchange has not commented on the legal drama recently on any of its public platforms. Preferring to send out positive news about its traders’ successes.
In January of this year, one of the accused, Heather Morgan, landed a job at an undisclosed tech firm. A US magistrate ruled that she could work specific hours for three days a week. The firm gave Morgan the role of marketing and business development manager at its New York office.
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