Even cryptocurrency’s most accomplished tech wizards apparently aren’t immune from the occasional wallet-draining hack. Luke Dashjr, one of the original core developers for Bitcoin, claims that someone swiped hundreds of BTC from his accounts late last year—leaving him to start 2023 with nothing but an empty wallet and a heart full of woe.
Dashjr, who has worked for the Bitcoin Project for the past twelve years, took to Twitter on Sunday to lament the apparent hacking episode. While seemingly distraught, the dev didn’t initially offer much explanation as to how any of this was supposed to have happened.
After allegedly thieving Dashjr’s personal coin bounty, the hacker supposedly funneled the money to another crypto address, where the assets currently sit. The wallet shows a total of some 216.93 BTC, equivalent to some $3.6 million.
According to Dashjr, a cybercriminal managed to get ahold of his PGP key, which then led to a compromise of his hot wallet. PGP, which stands for “Pretty Good Privacy,” is a popular security program designed to protect web users via encryption. PGP is typically used to encrypt certain kinds of sensitive information, though it isn’t entirely clear in this instance how a compromise of Dashjr’s key would have enabled the hacking episode.
Many Twitter users responded to Dashjr’s claims with sympathy, offering condolences for his stolen millions. However, more than a few people weren’t so sure about the developer’s claims. Most were just perplexed as to how something like this could actually happen.
“Do you a sense of what really happened? Can you share some insights that may help others?” one user asked, to which Dashjr merely replied: “No idea.”
Another user questioned why: “How [does] PGP key lead to losing Bitcoin?” Dashjr responded: “Everything is compromised.”
Another incredulous user posted: “I don’t buy this. You of all people should have at least some basic Opsec [operational security], and you are leading us to believe you kept over 200 BTC on a hot wallet?”
Some pointed out that tax season was fast approaching. At least one Twitter user accused Dashjr of perpetrating a “boating accident.” Boating accidents are tax avoidance schemes, in which a token holder claims to have lost their digital money to hackers but, in reality, maintains control of the funds and is merely trying to avoid the snooping eye of financial regulators. There is no evidence that this is what Dashjr is doing, though many details of what exactly happened to his money remain unclear.
Gizmodo reached out to the crypto developer for comment and will update this story if he responds.
It’s not as if Dashjr would be the first crypto acolyte to get his coinage boosted. Last year showed that there was seemingly no end to the financial mayhem that could be wrought by cybercriminals who targeted the crypto industry. If this incident is any indication, it seems like 2023 won’t be much different.