Crypto Journalist Discovers Identity Of 2016 Ethereum Hacker Who Stole $11B

Crypto journalist Laura Shin claims that while writing a book, she and her sources discovered the identity of the hacker who stole Ethereum in 2016 now worth an estimated $11 billion.

Shin and blockchain data security firm Chainalysis claim that a programmer and ex-CEO at cryptocurrency startup TenX named Toby Hoenisch allegedly stole 3.6 million ETH from TheDAO — a decentralized autonomous organization.

With ETH trading at about $3,025 according to CoinDesk data, the 3.64 million tokens are worth a staggering $11 billion today, making this one of the most significant hacks in crypto history. 

TheDAO was launched in 2016 on the Ethereum blockchain, the second-largest crypto network, and was intended to act as an investor-directed venture capital firm.

After raising $150 million worth of Ether (ETH) from more than 11,000 investors through a token sale, TheDAO was hacked due to vulnerabilities in its code base, with the hacker siphoning 31 percent of the ETH.

The Ethereum blockchain was eventually hard forked – a software update that is usually incompatible with the older version — to restore the stolen funds, which resulted in the network splitting into two distinct blockchains: Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

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TheDAO’s hack remained cryptocurrency’s biggest mystery and a watershed moment in Ethereum’s history that left the original code being renamed as Ethereum Classic.

In an article published by Forbes, Shin said that the evidence seems to point to Hoenisch, a 36-year-old programmer who grew up in Austria but was living in Singapore at the time of TheDAO’s hack.

“EXCLUSIVE: With the publication of my book today, I can finally announce: in the course of writing my book, my sources and I believe we uncovered the identity of the Ethereum’s 2016 DAO hacker,” Shin tweeted on Feb. 22.

Shin used Chainalysis to track funds from the hack to a Bitcoin mixer. It was then tracked to an obscure privacy currency called Grin, which was subsequently withdrawn to a Grin node linked to both Hoenisch and TenX.

Confronted with the evidence, Hoenisch said the “statement and conclusion” that he was TheDAO’s hacker was “factually inaccurate.”

Hoenisch posted social media messages at the time promoting Ethereum Classic and insulting Ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin over the attack, according to Shin.

Hoenisch startup TenX was shut down shortly after raising $80 million in an ICO after its card issuer, Wirecard, filed for liquidation. It was later rebranded as Mimi Capital, a stable coin project.

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