CoinSpot, a well-known Australian cryptocurrency exchange, has allegedly been targeted in a cyberattack, leading to a significant loss of $2.4 million from one of its hot wallets. Blockchain security experts from CertiK suggest that this incident is likely due to a “private key compromise.”
This development came to light on November 8 when ZachXBT, a cryptocurrency investigator, disclosed two transactions that deposited funds into the wallet purportedly controlled by the hackers. Following this, the owner of the compromised wallet utilized ThorChain and Wan Bridge to move the stolen assets into the Bitcoin network. CertiK, in correspondence with Cointelegraph, pointed to a probable compromise of a private key associated with at least one of CoinSpot’s hot wallets as the root cause of this exploit.
Detailed examination of the transaction records on Etherscan revealed a transfer of 1,262 Ether, equivalent to $2.4 million at current market prices, originating from a known CoinSpot wallet and ending up in the alleged hacker’s wallet. Subsequently, the recipient of this Ether embarked on a series of transfers. In two distinct transactions, they converted 450 Ether into 24 Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) using the Uniswap platform.
Unraveling Crypto Thieves’ Elusive Moves
Within the next 10 minutes, the address executed another transfer, exchanging 831 Ether for Bitcoin through ThorChain and dispersing the Bitcoin across four different wallet addresses, as disclosed by CertiK’s investigative data. A closer look at Bitcoin explorer BTCScan data indicated that the owners of these four Bitcoin wallets engaged in a systematic process of distributing the allegedly ill-gotten BTC to numerous fresh wallets, each time dividing the funds into smaller portions. This technique is a common strategy employed by cyber attackers to complicate the tracking process, making it more challenging to trace the entirety of the stolen funds.
CoinSpot, a crypto exchange established in 2013, currently holds the position of Australia’s largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of reported user numbers, serving approximately 2.5 million customers. The exchange operates under the regulatory oversight of the Australian financial watchdog AUSTRAC and has been granted an Australian Digital Currency Exchange License.
Marathon Digital Reports 670% Revenue Surge
In a separate development in the cryptocurrency industry, Marathon Digital Holdings, a Bitcoin mining firm, reported a remarkable 670% increase in revenue for the third quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. This surge in revenue was primarily driven by a substantial five-fold increase in Bitcoin production, which rose from 6.7 mined BTC per day in Q3 2022 to an impressive 37.9 BTC per day in Q3 2023. Moreover, Marathon’s hashrate also experienced a substantial boost, increasing by 403% over the same period.
A significant portion of Marathon’s hashrate increase can be attributed to its newly established 27-megawatt hydro-powered mining operation in Paraguay, announced on November 8. Marathon’s CEO and chairman, Fred Thiel, emphasized that this substantial progress has contributed to strengthening the firm’s financial position as it prepares for the upcoming Bitcoin halving event scheduled for April 2024.
Marathon’s Success Fueled by Bold Debt Reduction
Marathon’s strategic financial decisions have also played a vital role in its success. A $417 million note exchange, completed in September, led to a significant reduction in the company’s long-term debt, bringing it down to 56%. This financial move resulted in over $100 million in cash savings for the company’s shareholders and marked the first time in two years that Marathon’s combined cash and Bitcoin holdings exceeded its debt.
While Marathon’s share price experienced a temporary decline of 6.9% to $8.55 on November 8, it rebounded by 4.3% in after-hours trading following the release of Marathon’s impressive earnings report. This positive financial performance indicates the company’s commitment to further increasing its hashrate in the short to mid-term, with plans to boost its installed hashrate from 23.1 exahashes per second to 26 EH/s and a further 30% increase in 2024.
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