The man responsible for hacking the Ethereum DAO has been named as the former CEO of TenX Toby Hoenisch. The 2016 hack resulted in a controversial Ethereum hard fork that rolled back the network so the stolen funds could be returned to users.
The revelation comes thanks to the investigative work of podcaster and journalist Laura Shin, with assistance from forensic analysis firm Chainalysis. Toby Hoenisch denies the allegations.
Much like the Bitfinex exploit in the same year, the 2016 Ethereum DAO hack is one of the cryptocurrency’s long-standing great mysteries. The loss of 3.64 million ETH would today be valued at $11 billion. Now it looks like the mystery has been solved.
The investigation puts an end to any false and persistent notions that cryptocurrencies are somehow anonymous.
“But as new applications emerge, one of the first uses of cryptocurrency – as a shield of anonymity – is in retreat, thanks to regulatory pressure and the fact that transactions on public blockchains are traceable.” confirmed Shin in a Forbes article on Feb. 22.
In particular, Shin reveals that Chainalysis has the ability to de-combine and decode Wasabi transactions.
“Using a feature being disclosed here for the first time, Chainalysis separated Wasabi transactions and tracked their output to four exchanges,” she says before adding, “an employee at one of the exchanges confirmed to one of my sources that the funds were exchanged for the privacy currency Grin and withdrawn to a Grin node called grin.toby.ai.”
As additional evidence, Shin states:
“The IP address for this node also hosted Bitcoin Lightning nodes: ln.toby.ai, lnd.ln.toby.ai, etc., and was consistent for over a year; it was not a VPN.”
“It was hosted on Amazon Singapore. Lightning Explorer 1ML showed a node on that IP called TenX.”
There is other evidence to link Hoenisch to the crime, and some of it suggests that the CEO of TenX went out of his way to troll Vitalik Buterin after the crime – posting oblique references to the hack stating that 'too big to fail is guaranteed failure'.
According to Shin, those in the Ethereum community who know Hoenish had some unkind words to share. Greek software developer Karapetsas, who also worked at the DAO, described Hoenish as a 'detestable' individual who knew better than everyone else.
In exploring the DAO, perhaps Hoenisch felt he had proved them right.
Shin reached out to Hoenish who described the investigation and his report as 'factually inaccurate.'
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