U.S. Government Returns Portion of Stolen Funds to Bitfinex

The United States government has recovered 28 stolen bitcoin worth over $120,000 that have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, Reuters reported. According to the company’s February 25 Medium post, 27.66270285 BTC that were unlawfully taken in the August 2016 security breach have been received by Bitfinex from the U.S. government as the result of U.S. law enforcement efforts.

The Bitfinex heist was one of the biggest ever thefts from a cryptocurrency exchange to date, with hackers making off with $72 million worth of bitcoin. In order to deal with the theft, Bitfinex came up with a unique approach, generalizing the losses across all accounts. The company credited BFX tokens to all of its customers at a ratio of 1 BFX to 1 dollar lost, Bitfinex explained in its post.  Additionally, Bitfinex created a tradable Recovery Right Token (RRT) for BFX holders that converted BFX tokens into shares of iFinex.

Following the news about the recovered funds, Bitfinex said that it will convert the returned bitcoin to dollars and distribute the cash to around 5,000 customers affected by the heist. This would mean that each of the 5,000 users whose funds were stolen in 2016 will get just under $25.

Cryptocurrency heists have been on the rise since the big boom of 2017, with more and more exchanges and wallets suffering hacks that result in millions of dollars worth of coins being stolen. The rising number of thefts, however, aren’t matched with the same amount of investigations or convictions. Returning stolen funds has almost become unheard of in the cryptocurrency industry.

The news about the funds being returned to Bitfinex have been touted as a rare example of an official investigation into a cryptocurrency theft yielding any positive results. And while there’s almost 120,000 bitcoin left to recover, it seems that the law enforcement has gotten on the right track.

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