How Hackers Stole Seth Green’s Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT and Turned It Into Cash

Within minutes of selling the stolen Seth green’s bored ape, the thief tried to hide the money by making a lot of crypto transactions.

During the epidemic, bizarre digital photos of cartoon apes known as “Bored Apes” emerged as the newest means to get crypto legitimacy and celebrity cachet.

Some crypto non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the Bored Ape Yacht Club have sold for more than $2 million. This makes it one of the most valuable and successful collections of NFTs to date. Some of the digital apes have ended up in the crypto wallets of celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Paris Hilton, Steve Aoki, and Seth Green.

In May, Green made headlines when he said that he had lost his precious BAYC original (#8,398 out of a total of 10,000 unique digital assets) and three other valuable NFTs: two Mutant Apes and one Doodle.

All of these popular NFT collections are on the Ethereum blockchain, which is the birthplace of NFTs and the second most successful crypto ecosystem after Bitcoin. On Ethereum, transactions can be made anonymously, but everyone can also see what is going on. Green was able to figure out that BAYC #8398 had ended up in the wallet of someone with the handle DarkWing84, who seems to be a cinematographer in Sydney. (PJ Vogt and Crypto Island deserve credit for doing 99 percent of the work to link the handle to a real person.)

It’s also how we know that Seth Green seems to have ultimately paid above what DarkWing84 paid the thief on June 7 for the ape NFT he calls “Fred.”

The Bored Ape and two Mutant Apes are now in an OpenSea wallet with the name “Fred Simian.” Some of Green’s NFTs are said to be characters in a show he wants to make, which may be why Green was willing to pay a lot for the stolen ethereal goods.

In the case of Seth Green’s ape, a lot of attention has been paid to how the NFT moves across different slots on a public distributed ledger and who has the keys to those movements. The flow of fungible tokens that can be easily traded for real cash and used outside the digital world has been unclear.

Green has said that he fell for a phishing scam site that was a copy of the Gutter Cat Gang, another famous NFT collection.

Now, blockchain investigator @ZachXBT has tracked the path of the 106 ETH (worth $121,000 as of July 11) that went from DarkWing84’s wallet to the scammer in exchange for the stolen ape, which the thief only kept for about two and a half hours before selling it.

In a Twitter thread, the pseudonymous detective explains that after Green connected his Ethereum wallet to the scam phishing site, he may have clicked something that gave the scammer permission to take Green’s most valuable NFTs.

“I’m crazy careful with separate wallets and security, but they still got me,” Green said on Twitter on May 17 after a hacker stole the digital goods.

Within minutes of selling the stolen Apes and Doodle, the thief tried to hide the money by making a lot of crypto transactions. All four of the stolen NFTs brought in more than $400,000 in ETH, which was then traded for an Ethereum ERC-20 token called renBTC so that thief could move the money into Bitcoin.

ZachXBT says, “The scammer then uses a method called “peel chain” to wash large amounts of crypto through small transactions.”

After ten layers of transactions to try to clean the money more, a big chunk is moved back from ETH to Bitcoin and then traded for $107,000 worth of Tether stablecoin.

“The funds then sit still for 41 days before I get a notice that they are moving again,” the thread says. “On June 21, the con artist starts sending the stolen money to @WhiteBit” (a European crypto exchange). I send them a direct message right away, but it doesn’t seem to be reviewed internally.”

A centralized exchange, such as WhiteBit or Coinbase, serves as an on-ramp and off-ramp for cryptocurrency, allowing digital tokens to be swapped for dollars, euros, or other fiat currencies and then more quickly disappear from circulation.
ZachXBT thinks that the person who did this has used similar methods to scam and launder millions of dollars.

“In this case, Seth Green is the victim, but many other people have lost money to the same con artist. I hope they’ll make a mistake at some point.”

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