Trusted Ways to Recover Scammed Bitcoin Stolen

      Trusted Ways to Recover Scammed Bitcoin Stolen

Trusted Ways to Recover Scammed Bitcoin Stolen

Is cryptocurrency use totally private and anonymous? Think again. The Cubits/Dooga case shows just how easy it is to trace bitcoin compared to fiat.

A common misperception is that lost or stolen bitcoin is gone forever. But as blockchain forensics continues to evolve, identifying, tracing and recovering hidden crypto assets may have already become easier than traditional asset recovery. 

A court order signed by a U.S. federal bankruptcy judge last month in the Northern District of California granted relief to the liquidators of a three-year old US$32 million cybertheft. The assets stolen from U.K.-based crypto exchange Dooga — then registered as Cubits — were traced through forensics technology to wallets stored in two U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchanges. 

“Cubits opened accounts for [those] who turned out to be the wrongdoers,” Kobre & Kim law partner Benjamin Sauter, who represented Dooga, told Forkast.News, adding that the perpetrators bought bitcoin through Cubits before attempting to withdraw. “Cubits was told by its payment processor — who turned out to be part of the fraud — that it had received funds as one end of this transaction.” However, Sauter adds, Cubits never got paid for the bitcoin that left its exchange. 

Sauter said that the case set a precedent in recognizing foreign bankruptcy through a procedure to recognize bankruptcy in the United States, as outlined in Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. “Essentially, any exchange [and] its holding asset that we could connect to that fraud becomes an asset of the estate.”

Not only does the recent Dooga case set a precedent for recovery of crypto assets in foreign jurisdictions, but also shows how recovery of stolen crypto assets could be swifter than traditional methods. 

“In traditional asset recovery matters, you serve subpoenas to a bank, then you learn who was at that bank,” Sauter said. “You take another month and you send a subpoena to another bank, and you unwind a series of transactions to a series of subpoenas that often take you overseas.” 

That process can take months or more, Sauter explained. Transactions on the blockchain, however, are displayed in real time for anyone to view. 

See related article: How Ethereum Classic’s 51% attacks reveal risks to Bitcoin and Ethereum

For experienced crypto crooks, an often-used method to hide bitcoin transactions is through using bitcoin mixers. Bitcoin mixers are services that allow users to mix their cryptocurrencies in a single pool with many other users and receive the same amount of cryptocurrency in return. 

But blockchain forensics has already evolved to a point where crypto mixing may no longer be all that helpful to cyber thieves. “We were able to see through and trace from one wallet to the next where those transactions [in the mixer] went,” Sauter said. “When those wallets send to a known exchange, that will appear in a commonly used forensic software.” 

Crypto forensics is also now being used by law enforcement to track the movement of criminal funds. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice — using forensics techniques — was able to follow more than 50 crypto transactions to lay the case for seizing more than US$1 billion worth of bitcoin from a wallet that held funds from Silk Road, the now-defunct online black market that was infamous for selling illegal drugs.

But even with improving crypto recovery methods, there are still instances when bitcoin is indeed lost forever — when private keys are forgotten, misplaced or otherwise inaccessible. 

“That’s a very unfortunate scenario, and I think one that happens more often than we like to hear,” Sauter said. “Frankly, those people may be out of luck.” 

Watch Sauter’s full interview with Forkast.News Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau to learn more about how Kobre & Kim recovered US$32 million worth of lost crypto assets, the precedent set by Dooga case, and why you should take care to never, ever lose track of the password to your crypto wallet. 

Key Highlights

Trusted Ways to Recover Scammed Bitcoin Stolen

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. After six months of an ending search for a good charge back specialist thanks a lot Cybersploits for helping me out .

  2. If your cryptocurrency has been stolen, you should contact us immediately. You really don’t want to take any action on your own. By doing so, you could be charged with a crime depending on the circumstances surrounding your theft. With our expertise in fraud and cyber security, we will work with law enforcement as needed to try and recover your lost funds. We can also help you recover from identity theft if your wallet has been hacked or if you’ve been phished into believing that a trusted website is real when it’s not. If there’s any chance of recovering your coins then we’re going to do everything possible to make it happen for you.

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