Cryptocurrency exchange Mt Gox hacked, 500 billion culprit caught

Bitcoin. / Reuters

Two Russians who stole about 500 billion worth of bitcoins from the world’s largest virtual currency exchange won Mt. Went Mt. Gox eventually went bankrupt due to the hacking damage, and the incident is considered one of the worst Bitcoin hacks of all time.

On the 9th (local time), the US Department of Justice announced that it had indicted Russian nationals Alexei Vilyuchenko (43) and Alexander Werner (29) on charges of stealing hundreds of thousands of bitcoins by hacking the Japanese virtual currency exchange, Mt. Gox in 2011.

Mt Gox Hacking Case Indictment. / US Department of Justice

According to the Ministry of Justice, they are suspected of stealing approximately 647,000 bitcoins by hacking the servers of Mt. Gox with other helpers in September 2011. At the time, the market price was about 400 million dollars (about 516.4 billion won), and the current market value is about 17.2 billion dollars (22.2 trillion won).

In particular, it was found that Vilyuchenko, among them, used the money withdrawn in this way to finance the establishment of the Bitcoin exchange BTC-e. These exchanges have been used by cybercriminals around the world to transfer and launder illegal profits. The US Department of Justice said that “hackers, ransomware scammers, drug gangs, and corrupt officials laundered criminal money through the exchange established by Vilyuchenko and his accomplices.” Alexander Vinik, who ran BTC-e with Vilyuchenko, served five years in prison in France after being arrested in Greece in 2017 for allegedly laundering more than $4 billion in criminal funds.

The US Department of Justice said, “They are stealing huge amounts of virtual currency and have led to the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox.”

Mt Gox, a virtual currency exchange founded in Japan in 2010, once grew to record a 70% share of Bitcoin trading, but went through bankruptcy proceedings in 2014 due to a hacking incident. As a result of this event, regulatory laws related to cryptocurrency were introduced one after another around the world.