Francesco Firano, founder of cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail, has been ordered to repay the $170 million worth of cryptocurrency that allegedly went missing last year. According to The Next Web, an Italian judge ordered that Firano must declare bankruptcy, hand over personal assets and return as much of the stolen crypto as possible.
Documents revealed that Firano transferred customer funds into wallets under BitGrail control, and never installed safeguards to keep the cryptocurrency from being withdrawn without permission. He also deposited 230 bitcoins ($1.8 million) onto another cryptocurrency exchange and tried to withdraw the money through a bitcoin ATM.
In other news, bitcoin prices fell again on Monday (Jan. 28) to $3,443, its lowest level since mid-December. Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, noted that bitcoin has had a tough time because it couldn’t separate itself from smaller digital currencies during last year’s massive sell-off.
“It’s a huge disappointment; it neither came in terms of price or calendar. Last year was a year where the crypto bubble was really adjusting, because there were a lot of ICOs and flawed projects, [and] we thought bitcoin would sort of survive that. It didn’t. It got sold off with the rest of the market,” he said, according to MarketWatch.
Four South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are teaming up to boost anti-money laundering (AML) efforts to create a “healthier trading environment.” FinTech Futures reported that Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and UPbit are creating a hotline, dedicated to AML issues, to share information on trades involving voice phishing, predatory lending, pyramid schemes and other illegal activities.
“In the case of a scammer looking to utilize various exchanges to disperse a large quantity of assets to the same wallet, all four exchanges will be able to identify and prevent such activities via the shared database,” said the group.
Two groups of cybercriminals appear to have stolen around $1 billion in cryptocurrency hacks, which is most of the money lost in these scams. Even worse, the two groups are probably still active, said Philip Gradwell, the chief economist at Chainalysis, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company’s report said the two groups used an extensive network of digital wallets to conceal their activities, and later converted the money to physical cash through online exchanges and individual transactions.