Indian exchange Coinsecure has announced its plan to repay customers for stolen bitcoins as well as a 10 percent bounty to anyone who helps recover them. The exchange claims it was an inside job, and suspects its chief security officer of playing a role in siphoning off the money.
A 10 Percent Bounty
Coinsecure has announced a bounty of approximately 20 million rupees, worth approximately US$306,722 at press time, “to anyone who helps them recover the lost bitcoins,” the Economic Times reported on Saturday.
The exchange confirmed that it lost 438.31859715 BTC on April 8, worth approximately Rs 20 crore or US$3,067,220. The coins were stolen from an offline wallet holding users’ funds, the news outlet detailed. While the exchange has about 2 million users, “Some 11,000 customers are said to be affected by the reported theft which is the biggest cryptocurrency theft in India,” the publication added. The exchange subsequently halted all deposits and withdrawals.
A statement was issued by the company on Friday, clarifying:
We are also seeking help from the Bitcoin community and all our users who can help us identify the hacker or give us any information that could lead us to recover funds…We are happy to issue a bounty of 10% to the community for help rendered for [the] recovery of BTC.
Where Did the Coins Go?
Coinsecure revealed that the address where stolen bitcoins were transferred to is 1BaEJquitskdXcTj53Uy6PuUtJ5a8ETWpA. At the time of this writing, there have been 973 transactions through this address and the final balance is 139.42094629 BTC.
The stolen coins were “transferred to the hacker’s wallet over a span of two days in small tranches” and then sent to multiple addresses, the news outlet described, noting:
The exchange claims an insider job in the theft and suspects its chief security officer, Amitabh Saxena, of playing a role in siphoning off the money. Coinsecure also requested Delhi police to seize Saxena’s passport, fearing that he may leave the country.
The police are currently investigating the case. The exchange has filed a theft report with the Delhi Cyber Crime Cell under Section 66 of the IPC and the IT Act. According to News18, “the company’s servers have been seized to get information about [the] hack…Many senior officials of the company have [also] been called for questioning.”
Moreover, the news outlet wrote, “Coinsecure tried to track the hackers, but the wallet was stolen, their data log was erased. For this reason, there was no clue about the transfer of bitcoins.”
The company announced on Saturday that “should we be able to recover all of our BTC, all our customers’ BTC holdings will be refunded as per the balance they held with Coinsecure.” However, the exchange warned that:
If recovery of siphoned BTC is not possible, then we will apply the lock in rates as of the 9th of April, 2018. 10% of the coin holding balance will be refunded in BTC and 90% will be returned in INR.
“Details on procedures to be followed will be issued sometime next week, as we are planning on how we can go back online and help with withdrawals of INR and BTC balances, and are waiting for the go-ahead from the authorities,” the exchange elaborated.
What do you think of Coinsecure’s bounty and repayment plan? Do you think it was an inside job? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Blockchain, and Coinsecure.
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