The wallet address associated with defunct-crypto exchange BTC-e moved 10,000 BTC in a series of transfers on Wednesday.
A Nov. 23 report from blockchain security firm Chainalysis disclosed that BTC-e sent $165 million worth of Bitcoin to a group of personal wallets, exchanges and other services
BTC-e was a Russian-operated crypto exchange that operated from 2011 until 2017, when U.S. authorities seized control of the website and arrested its founder Alexander Vinnik. The exchange has been associated with laundering stolen funds from the Mt. Gox hack in 2014.
In 2018, BTC-e moved 30,000 BTC out of its service wallet and sent a “substantial portion” of these funds to OTC desk Suex, said Chainalysis. Suex is now subject to OFAC sanctions, and as such, the wallet operators are likely unable to move the $50 million sent to the platform.
Still, Chainalysis found that those controlling the wallet still moved small amounts of BTC from the exchange wallet from time to time. None of these transfers have been as large as Wednesday’s withdrawal, however, which represents nearly all the Bitcoin left in the wallet.
On-chain analysis suggests that the wallet controllers may have been planning this move for a while. On Oct. 26, BTC-e sent a small amount of Bitcoin to Russian electronic payment service Webmoney. WEX, an exchange considered the successor entity of BTC-e, also sent a similar amount to Webpay around the same time.
On Nov. 11, Chainalysis found that BTC-e made a test payment from its wallet before transferring 100 BTC indirectly to an exchange two days before Wednesday’s large withdrawals.
Of the 10,000 BTC transferred, 9,950 was sent to personal wallets, while the rest was moved to four deposit addresses on two large exchanges. One of these exchanges is a Russian entity and potentially an intermediary to launder BTC-e money, said Chainalysis.