The 120,000 Bitcoin Bitfinex Heist to be Turned into a Netflix Documentary


The world of cryptocurrencies, especially in its earlier years, had a reputation of being the playing ground of hackers and various malicious entities. And while this has changed to a huge degree in the past few years and the field received massive recognition and regulatory clarity, the ghosts of its past remain.

One of the most infamous Bitcoin hacks took place back in 2016 when someone stole roughly 120,000 BTC from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges – Bitfinex. Now, given everything that has happened since Netflix wants to turn it into a documentary.

Let’s dive in.

It’s 2016, Bitfinex Gets Hacked for 120,000 BTC

Back in August 2016, the cryptocurrency world, albeit much… much smaller at the time, experienced one of its major shakedowns when news broke out that Bitfinex saw 119.756 BTC being stolen from its platform. Back then, the amount was worth roughly $66 million.

Although the Mt. Gox hack was proportionally bigger, this remains one of the most serious financial crimes in modern history, given the meteoric rise of BTC’s price to date. At the time of this writing, the 120K BTC is currently worth over $5 billion.

In any case, the theft sparked massive confusion and frustration. The source of the vulnerability appeared to be in the way the exchange structured its accounts, using the BTC wallet provider BitGo which added one more layer of security for the transactions.

Fast Forward to 2022: The US DoJ Arrests a Couple

Just a few days ago, on February 8th, CryptoPotato reported that the US authorities, in the face of the Department of Justice, arrested Ilya Lichtenstein (34) and Heather Morgan (31). The DoJ accused them of conspiring to launder 119,754 BTC after an attacker stole them through over 20,000 unauthorized transactions from Bitfinex in the above heist.

Now, a very important clarification here is that the couple isn’t accused of actually orchestrating the hack but rather of attempting to launder the money stolen through it. This, among some downright ridiculous circumstances, led many to believe that they are not responsible for the hack.

Speaking of bizarre events, a simple example would be that the authorities claim they found the private keys to the BTC fortune stored on a, get this, a cloud service. That’s right – the accused stored the private keys to 120K BTC on what may easily have been Google Cloud. To the uninitiated, keeping your private keys on an offline medium at all times is one of the (if not the) most important security principles that anyone stepping into the field of cryptocurrencies should follow. For some more security tips, take a look at our extensive guide.

All things considered, the drama surrounding the events seems to have caught the attention of the streaming behemoth – Netflix.

Netflix Wants to Turn it into a Documentary

A press release from February 11th reads that:

Netflix has ordered a documentary series about a married couple’s alleged scheme to launder billions of dollars worth of stolen cryptocurrency in the biggest criminal financial crime case in history.

To be fair, that’s definitely not the “biggest criminal financial crime case in history.” As we mentioned above, the Mt. Gox hack saw BTC worth around six times that stolen.

In any case, the documentary is set to be directed and produced by Chris Smith and Nick Bilton.

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