May 30, 2024

Image for article titled 2 crypto thieves have been charged in a $25 million Ethereum heist

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The U.S. Department of Justice has arrested two brothers for attacking the Ethereum blockchain and stealing $25 million worth of cryptocurrency within 12 seconds, it said in an unsealed indictment on Wednesday.

The indictment is charging Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, of Boston, and James Pepaire-Bueno, 28, of New York, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, the agency said.

The DOJ said the duo allegedly committed a “first-of-its-kind manipulation” of the Ethereum blockchain. In doing so, they were able to redirect pending transactions to ultimately steal $25 million in cryptocurrency.

“As we allege, the defendants’ scheme calls the very integrity of the blockchain into question,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York.

The DOJ said that because the Peraire-Bueno brothers studied computer science and math at “one of the most prestigious universities in the world,” their education could have helped them carry out the scheme.

If convicted, the Peraire-Bueno brothers each face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of three counts they are being charged with, the DOJ said.

Charges against the brothers come also come amid deliberations of whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will move to approve an Ethereum exchange-traded-fund (ETFs). The ruling, scheduled for later this year, would let investors gain exposure to ether tokens without directly owning the cryptocurrency.

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