Skip to content

Bitcoin core developer claims to have lost 200+ BTC in the latest hack

One of the founding members of the Bitcoin core team, Luke Dashjr, asserts that a hack that happened soon before the new year caused him to lose "essentially" all of his bitcoins.

Photo by Shuvro Mojumder / Unsplash

Luke Dashjr, a founding member of Bitcoin and a core developer, alleges that on December 31, his PGP key was hacked. As a result, almost all of his Bitcoin was taken from him.

The Hack

One of the founding members of the Bitcoin core team, Luke Dashjr, asserts that a hack that happened soon before the new year caused him to lose "essentially" all of his bitcoins. The developer claimed in a tweet on January 1 that the suspected hackers had acquired access to his PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) key. This popular security technique employs two keys to access encrypted data. In the conversation, he disclosed a wallet address where part of the stolen Bitcoin had been transferred. But remained mum on the entire amount of his BTC that was taken.

The wallet address in issue now displays four transactions between 2:08 and 2:16 UTC on December 31, totaling 216.93 BTC, or $3.6 million at the time of writing. Despite Dashjr's claim that he had "no clue how" the attackers got their hands on his key, several members of the community have suggested a connection with an earlier tweet he had published on November 17 in which he stated that his server had been infected by "new malware/backdoors on the system."

In his most recent Twitter thread, Dashjr stated that he was aware of the current attack after receiving letters from Coinbase and Kraken regarding failed login attempts. Additionally, the event grabbed the eye of Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao, who expressed sympathy and support in a post on January 1.

I'm sorry you lost so much. I notified our security team to keep an eye on it. If it approaches us, we'll freeze it. Please let us know if there is anything further we can do to assist. The author stated that we frequently deal with them and have connections with Law Enforcement (LE) all around the world.

How did this happen?

Some crypto community members have hypothesized that the loss may have been caused by shoddy security. The Bitcoin developer Dashjr may not have taken the November 17 security breach "seriously enough," according to a Reddit user (1) going by SatStandard, who subsequently claimed that Dashjr did not keep distinct operations isolated.  He used the same PC as before; he opened a hot wallet. It appears that he was smug. Others seem to imply that it wasn't a hack and that the seed word was accidentally discovered or involved in a "boating mishap" just in time for tax season. In this context, the term "boating accident" (2) refers to a recurring joke and meme about people trying to avoid paying taxes by saying they lost all their bitcoin in a "tragic boating accident," which was first popularized by gun enthusiasts.

When contacted, Dashjr through Twitter to inquire about the purported breach, but they did not respond. The announcement has also sparked a discussion about self-custody, which has been a hot subject since FTX's demise last year.  A unique set of hazards are associated with self-custody. BTC influencer Udi Wertheimer commented on social media that one "shouldn't handle your keys" and questioned if self-custody was a practical and secure choice.