A crypto-journalist claims to have solved one of cryptocurrency’s biggest mysteries. She is said to have evidence about who hacked The DAO in June 2016, taking 3.6 million ether from its treasury and causing a controversial Ethereum network hard split.
Laura Shin, presenter of the Unchained podcast and author of “The Cryptopians,” is identifying TenX co-founder Toby Hoenisch as the attacker. She claims that he rejected the accusation in an email. She also adds that he never followed through on a commitment to give details debunking her findings.
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 It was then tracked to an obscure privacy currency called Grin, which was subsequently withdrawn to a Grin node linked to both Hoenisch and TenX.
The DAO attack that changed Ethereum’s fate
The DAO attack is seen as a watershed point in Ethereum’s history. It anticipated a slew of additional incidents involving unscrupulous actors misusing smart contracts in recent years.
The majority of the Ethereum community finally decided to undo the hack. But few dissenters who clung to a rigid “code is law” ethic resisted, resulting in the original network being renamed Ethereum Classic.
According to Shin, Hoenisch posted social media messages at the time promoting Ethereum Classic and insulting Ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin over the attack.
Shin told Forbes, her former employer, that the evidence she obtained was “very good” and that her research partners were “incredibly, extremely confident” in their findings.
$11 billion is no joke
When Shin informed him about her findings last week, Julian Hosp, Hoenisch’s co-founder at TenX, was taken aback.
He wrote that he sat “totally astonished” for half a minute. “Was he technically capable? Yes. Could I imagine it? Heck no – but that’s what all neighbors of serial killers say too!!”
In a YouTube broadcast, Hosp remarked, “It seemed astounding to me that he was the one who pulled it off.” “I mean, we’re talking about $11 billion at today’s pricing.” That’s a ridiculous sum of money.”
Looking back at his emails, Hoenisch appeared to be cash-strapped the week before the attack and cash-flushed three days later, according to Hosp.
The shocking revelations have made waves. Hackers who exploit and loot the money will think thrice before taking such actions. With advanced tracking systems and a single error from the hacker’s side, it’s not that hard to catch the culprit.