The Curious Case of a Hacker and “Magic: The Gathering”

The Curious Case of a Hacker and “Magic: The Gathering”

In an unprecedented turn of events, a hacker targeted the Uranium Finance DeFi platform in 2021 and may have attempted to launder their stolen crypto gains in the most unexpected way – by using “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards. This peculiar revelation comes from the diligent investigation of blockchain sleuth ZachXBT, who recently shared a captivating thread outlining the hacker’s intricate money laundering operation.

According to ZachXBT, the hacker withdrew a staggering 11,200 ETH over the past year from Tornado Cash in increments of 100 ETH. To throw investigators off their trail, the hacker then made a series of calculated moves. Firstly, they converted the withdrawn ETH into wrapped ETH (WETH) and transferred it to a different address. From there, the hacker exchanged the WETH for USDC and utilized a portion of the funds to embark on an unusual spending spree – the purchase of “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards.

While the acquisition of trading cards might seem like an extraordinary choice, it may be a strategic effort by the hacker to complicate the tracing of funds back to their original source. Furthermore, the hacker cunningly deposited some of the funds into centralized exchanges such as Kraken, Bitpay, and Coinbase. By creating these additional layers of complexity, the hacker aimed to obscure their origins and impede the investigative process.

Upon careful analysis of the timeline and correlation between events, ZachXBT discovered that the hacker’s actions were likely linked to the 2021 Uranium Finance decentralized exchange exploit. The hacker’s deposits into Tornado Cash coincided with the deposit of funds by the Uranium hacker. Consequently, it appears that the stolen funds were being cleverly dispersed and utilized to further obscure their origin.

To facilitate the purchase of “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards, the hacker enlisted the services of a U.S.-based broker. Acting as an intermediary, the broker reached out to various sellers on the hacker’s behalf. These sellers were unknowingly engaged in substantial transactions, with the hacker spending millions on items such as starter decks, alpha sets, and sealed boxes. Notably, the hacker intentionally overpaid by 5-10% for these items, possibly to add another layer of complexity to the monetary trail.

The Uranium Finance decentralized finance platform, a Binance Smart Chain-based and Uniswap fork, suffered a devastating loss of $50 million due to a hack in 2021. Seizing an opportunity presented by a calculation error in the platform’s code, the hacker successfully drained liquidity from the protocol, leaving significant repercussions in their wake.

The audacious attempt by a hacker to launder stolen cryptocurrency through the acquisition of “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards has certainly left the blockchain community astounded. This intricate web of transactions and the strategic maneuvers taken by the hacker to obscure their tracks highlight the challenges faced by investigators in tracing illicit activities in the world of decentralized finance. As technology continues to evolve, it is imperative for platforms and users alike to remain vigilant and implement robust security measures to prevent future exploitation and safeguard the integrity of the ecosystem.


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