back to article Norway finds a way to recover crypto North Korea pinched in Axie heist

Norwegian authorities announced on Thursday that they had recovered $5.9 million of cryptocurrency stolen in the Axie Infinity hack – an incident widely held to have been perpetrated by the Lazarus Group, which has links to North Korea. The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    In March 2022, $620 million was stolen [...] In September 2022, US authorities found and seized $30 million of the ill-gotten gains. [... ]Økokrim said it worked with the FBI to recoup another $5.9 million

    That makes still $584,100,000 to find. A profitable operation for NK.

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge

    Tornado cash

    Unless I'm mistaken, proceeds of a theft can be seized and given back to the rightful owner regardless of whether the current owner knew about their origin — if a bicycle is stolen and resold to an unsuspecting buyer, it nevertheless belongs to the original owner, and it's technically on the unsuspecting buyer to get their money back from the thief.

    The point of tornado cash is to mix and obfuscate the origin of the cryptocurrency, but the blockchain still remembers the origin of every single token. From the principle above, it would make sense to seize the exact tokens that were stolen, regardless of who's supposed to own them — as the process of theft, the legal ownership is still with the stolen party.

    1. Catkin

      Re: Tornado cash

      I had difficulty finding a precedent to cite either way but I would draw the distinction that these are fungible tokens. If the authorities were able to seize specific tokens now held by innocent parties with no mens rea then I would never hold on to bank notes again, on the basis that robberies of cash have happened in history and the serial number on my notes might be matched to a specific crime, leading to their seizure.

      The precedent I'm looking for is an attempt by authorities to seize specific physical currency that has been previously stolen but has since passed through several innocent hands in otherwise legitimate transactions.

      1. AndersH

        Re: Tornado cash

        I believe the OP is correct that if something (e.g. a bike) can be shown to have been stolen, then it must be returned to the original owner. You're out of luck if you bought it for say cash down the pub.

        I'm unclear how this could be applied to a fungible token, it's an interesting question though. Anyone with a legal background care to comment?

    2. Dante Alighieri

      Return of assets

      Unless it is a house in the UK.

      Once the land registry is updated it is near impossible to revert the theft.

      There are many stories on this.

      Tenant updates land registry, sells house, runs away. There are some small protections at the registry but they don't make it easy.

      Much more a threat to houses that are mortgage free.

  3. Kev18999

    This is why blockchain should be used in all global financial systems so that a coalition of all countries can use it to trace and stop all forms of financial fraud. It's too easy to use bad actors around the globe to launder money but with the blockchain it will ledger all transactions past and future.

    1. druck Silver badge

      You obviously missed the fact that only $36m has been recovered and $584mi is still in the hands of the criminals. Its the same as finding a few bundles of notes which have been dropped by the bank robbers on their way out the vault.

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