A Chainalysis investigation ties ex-TenX CEO Toby Hoenisch to 2016 The DAO hack in which the perpetrator reportedly siphoned off 3.6 million ETH from one of the world’s first decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).
According to a Forbes report published on Tuesday, February 22, a joint investigation of Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis firm, and crypto journalist Laura Shin finds that the hacker responsible for the 2016 hack of The DAO stole 3.64 million ETH, leading to the Ethereum Classic (ETC) fork, appears to be Toby Hoenisch, a 36-year-old programmer who grew up in Austria and was living in Singapore at the time of the hack.
With the publication of my book today, I can finally announce: in the course of writing my book, my sources and I believe we uncovered the identity of the Ethereum's 2016 DAO hacker.
— Laura Shin (@laurashin) February 22, 2022
The 2016 DAO Hack
The DAO was one of the world’s first decentralized autonomous organizations, serving as an open-source venture fund platform for crypto projects. In 2016, the platform raised 12.7 million ETH, worth around $139 million at the time, from crowdfunding.
Laura Shin has made her findings public in her new book “The Cryptopians: Idealism, Greed, Lies, and the Making of the First Big Cryptocurrency Craze.” According to her joint investigation with Chainalysis, in 2016, someone siphoned off nearly a third (31%) of the project’s funds. The stolen amount was 3.6 million Ether (ETH) or around $10 billion given the price of ETH at the time of writing.
Following the hack, Ethereum, which was less than a year old at the time, was hard forked to Ethereum Classic (ETC). Following the hard fork, The DAO became DarkDAO.
According to Shin, by following a complicated trail of crypto transactions and using secret forensics tools from crypto tracing firm Chainalysis, they tracked the movement of the stolen funds that led them to Toby Hoenisch. He used four different cryptocurrency exchanges to swap the stolen ETHs and then sent the Bitcoin to a Wasabi Wallet, which is used to obfuscate Bitcoin transactions.
Toby Hoenisch Denies the Hack
The investigative crypto-journalist said she sent Toby “a document detailing the evidence pointing to him as the hacker.” In an email reply, he wrote to Shin, “Your statement and conclusion is factually inaccurate.” Toby also promised to provide details refuting Laura and Chainalysis’s findings but the details have not been provided by him until now.
According to the details, Toby Hoenisch co-founded and worked as the CEO of TenX, which raised $80 million in a 2017 initial coin offering to build a crypto debit card. The company failed because its card issuer, Wirecard, filed for insolvency.
TenX has now been renamed Mimo Capital and TenX token still exists under the ticker PAY with a market cap of more than $7 million.