- Laura Shin says that investigations point to former TenX CEO as the man behind the hack on The DAO.
- The alleged hacker has reportedly denied the accusation.
Crypto journalist Laura Shin says that extended research and investigation around the infamous hack on The DAO in 2016 was able to unearth the identity of the hacker as one Toby Hoenisch, an apparent well-known figure within the crypto space.
The senior Forbes contributor revealed she worked with blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis to trace the DAO funds’ movement.
“Who hacked The DAO? My exclusive investigation, built on the reporting for my new book, The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze, appears to point to Toby Hoenisch, a 36-year-old programmer who grew up in Austria and was living in Singapore at the time of the hack,” Shin wrote in an article published Tuesday, February 22.
Shin adds that Hoenisch has until the articles’ publication a well-known figure whose crypto profile includes being the co-founder and CEO of TenX, an $80 million initial coin offering (ICO) project that failed to live up to expectations.
The alleged hacker denies DAO hack
According to Shin’s article, Hoenisch has denied being the hacker behind the 2016 attack that saw The DAO lose 3.64 million ETH tokens.
Hoenisch is said to have replied to an email detailing his role by saying that the “statement and conclusion” indicated were “factually inaccurate.”
But investigations by Shin and blockchain analytics platform Chainalysis, tracking a 50 BTC transaction to a Wasabi Wallet was able to unmask the hacker as Hoenisch.
Per the research, Chainalysis was able to use never-before-revealed monitoring technology to “de-mix” the bitcoins and trace them to four exchanges.
Blockchain research helps identify hacked funds
From one of the exchanges, the alleged hacker swapped the BTC for the privacy coin Grin. These tokens were then sent to a Grin node that analysis showed as grin.toby.ai. The IP address of this particular node was also connected to other nodes such as ln.toby.ai and lnd.ln.toby.ai, with another linked to TenX.
“For anyone who was into crypto in June 2017, this name may ring a bell. That month, as the ICO craze was reaching its initial peak, there was an $80 million ICO named TenX. The CEO and cofounder used the handle @tobyai on AngelList, Betalist, GitHub, Keybase, LinkedIn, Medium, Pinterest, Reddit, StackOverflow, and Twitter. His name was Toby Hoenisch.”
Apart from these “links”, Shin says Hoenisch had been an active individual around The DAO, severally emailing the platform’s developers Slock.it.
The story has just broken after Shin’s book was published and it is now likely a lot more could be revealed, including from those Hoenisch emailed.
The DAO remains one of the largest thefts in the crypto space, even though the hacker never managed to cash out all the stolen funds. At the time in 2016, The DAO’s stolen funds amounted to about $60 million.
Today, that would be nearly $10 billion following Ether (ETH) prices rallying from lows of $20 then.