Bitcoin slides 8% after the U.S. seizes most of Colonial Pipeline ransom


June 9, 2021: -Bitcoin’s price slipped again on Tuesday. The reason for the move was unclear. However, it may be concerned over the security of the cryptocurrency after U.S. officials managed to recover most of the ransom paid to hackers that are targetting Colonial Pipeline.

Court documents said investigators could access the password for one of the hackers’ bitcoin wallets. A launched task force in Washington recovered the money created as part of the government’s response to an increase in cyberattacks recently.

The largest cryptocurrency in the world slid around 8% at 6:30 a.m. ET to a price of $32,817, according to Coin Metrics data. Small digital coins also slumped, with ether decreased 9% to $2,482 and XRP losing around 8%.

April 2021 will look to be a banner year for digital assets, with bitcoin having in the top $60,000 for the first time. But the latest plunge in crypto prices has shaken confidence in the market. Bitcoin sank to around $30,000 in the previous month and is recently decreasing almost 50% from its all-time high.

The digital currency is increased only 14% since the start of the year, though it’s still tripled in price from a year before.

On Monday, U.S. law enforcement officials said they had seized $2.3 million in bitcoin paid DarkSide, the cybercriminal gang for crippling cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline.

According to a court document, the Federal Bureau of Investigation could access the password for one of the hackers’ bitcoin wallets. Bitcoin has often been the currency of choice for the hacker that demands ransom payments to decrypt data locked by malware known as “ransomware.”

Crypto media outlet Decrypt reported unfounded rumors that the attackers’ bitcoin wallet had been “hacked,” an unlikely scenario.

DarkSide, which reported that it received $90 million in bitcoin ransom payments before it shut down, operated a so-called “ransomware as a service” business model. Hackers are developing and market ransomware tools and selling them to affiliates who can later carry out attacks.

According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the seized funds represented the bulk of the DarkSide affiliate’s share of the ransom paid out by Colonial.

John Hultquist, vice president of analysis at Mandiant Threat Intelligence, called the move a “welcome development.”

“It has become clear that we need to use several tools to stem the tide of this serious problem, and even law enforcement agencies need to broaden their approach beyond building cases against criminals who may be beyond the grasp of the law,” said Hultquist.

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