A cryptocurrency wallet owned by the closed crypto exchange BTC-e just transferred 10,000 bitcoins (BTC) worth more than $165 million on November 23 to various exchanges, personal wallets and other sources.
The November 23rd Chainalysis report states that despite this withdrawal being the largest withdrawal made by BTC-e since April 2018, BTC-e and WEX — the exchange that is considered the successor to BTC-e — both sent small amounts of BTC to Russian electronic payments. Webmoney service on October 26 before making a test payment on November 11, and then transfer another 100 BTC on November 21.
Movement of BTC belonging to BTC-e and WEX wallets. Image: Chain analysis
Of the total amount sent, 9,950 BTC is believed to still be in personal wallets, while the rest was moved through intermediaries before ending up in four deposit addresses on two major exchanges.
Co-founder and CEO of analytics firm Cryptoquant, Kee Young Joo, also confirmed the findings, noting that 0.6% of the funds were sent to exchanges and could represent liquidity on the sell side.
In a November 24 tweet, Yang Joo shared images of the transfer, highlighting that BTC had been in the wallet for over seven years.
7 year old $10,000 BTC has moved today.
Unsurprisingly, it’s from criminals, like most old bitcoins. This is a BTC-e exchange wallet associated with the 2014 Mt.Gox hack.
They sent 65 BTC to @hitbtc a few hours ago, so it’s not a government auction or anything. pic.twitter.com/Sp2higUqbq
— Ki Young Joo (@ki_young_ju) November 24, 2022
Yang Ju also mentioned that 65 BTC was transferred to the HitBTC crypto exchange and urged them to block the account for suspicious activity.
On the subject: Cryptocurrency survived worse than the fall of FTX: Chainalysis
Mt.Gox was a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange that once accounted for over 70% of bitcoin transactions. In 2014, the exchange was hacked, thousands of bitcoins were stolen, and the exchange filed for bankruptcy soon after.
In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shut down the BTC-e website, which had servers in the US, and funds were confiscated following allegations of involvement in money laundering, including the theft of cryptocurrencies during Mt. Gox exchange hack.
According to Chainalysis, BTC-e was still holding a “significant amount of bitcoins” at the time of the shutdown, and in April 2018 transferred over 30,000 BTC from its service wallet.
While the owners of BTC-e tried to remain anonymous, Alexander Vinnik is considered the main operator, and as a result, he has been involved in legal battles for the past five years.
A WizSecurity report published in 2017 claimed that BTC-e and Vinnik were directly involved in the theft of Mt.Gox bitcoins and user funds, with the latter being forced to suspend trading and shut down its website following losses.