Hacked: User Data Leaked From Brazilian Crypto Arbitrage Platform, Funds Reportedly Safe

  • Brazilian crypto exchange Atlas was recently hacked and the private account information of its 264,000 users has been leaked.
  • Users' email addresses, their crypto account balances, and phone numbers have all been leaked, however, Atlas' operators said that users' funds were not stolen.

Brazilian 'arbitrage' firm Atlas has reportedly been hacked and the email addresses belonging to its over 264,000 users have been leaked. The company's users’ phone numbers and the amount of cryptocurrency they have deposited on the platform have also now been shared publicly by the hacker(s).

According to a Youtube video posted by Investimentos Digitais on August 25, Atlas’ crypto platform has approximately 14,500 registered users with a total of 5,813 bitcoin (BTC) deposited in it, an amount currently valued at over $39 million according to CryptoCompare data.

Brazil’s crypto news website, Portal Do Bitcoin, noted the company's management had confirmed on Facebook that their platform was hacked. However, its operators also said that its users’ funds were not stolen during the security breach.

$39 Million In BTC Held On The Platform

The local crypto news outlet claims to have investigated the hacking incident by contacting one of the company's users who had reportedly deposited 21 BTC on the digital currency platform. Per the Brazilian news agency, the leaked list of Atlas’ customers, which was verified by the user, does reveal how much cryptocurrency each user has.

Notably, the list shows that Atlas itself owns 792 BTC, while the user holding the most bitcoins on the compromised platform has 205 BTC in their account. Other users on the list include Rocelo Lopes, who’s the owner CoinBr.net - the largest bitcoin, ether, and dash miner in Latin America.

Commenting on the security breach, Atlas’ operators said, 

"We became aware early on Saturday night that a security incident involving the leakage of data from our customers occurred. We are conducting an investigation with our information security advisor to understand the incident in more detail and we will cooperate with the appropriate authorities.”

Atlas Exchange

The crypto platform’s management also clarified and confirmed that the digital currency deposited with them had not been stolen due to the hack. Atlas’ managers did, however, acknowledge that all their customers’ private information had been leaked.

Additional Security Measures

Responding immediately to the hack, Atlas noted it took the necessary measures to make sure their users’ private keys and digital assets remained safe. At press time, Atlas’ technical team is reportedly monitoring the leaked accounts, while also working on implementing additional security measures to protect its users against theft or fraud.

As most crypto enthusiasts would know, cryptocurrency businesses have now been hacked numerous times, which has often resulted in large amounts of digital currency being stolen. Cybersecurity firm Group-IB recently published a research report in which it revealed that, in many cases, the hacked crypto exchanges cannot be blamed entirely for the security breaches.

Group-IB’s crypto cyberattack analysis report noted that digital currency accounts are often hacked due to “underestimating cybercriminals” by “disregarding” basic security measures such as creating complex passwords. Most of the hacked accounts Group-IB examined had easy-to-remember passwords and had not enabled two-factor authentication.

50% of Bitcoin Wealth Held by Just 1,800 Wallets

Neil Dennis

The distribution of bitcoin and cryptocurrency wealth is more concentrated than global wealth - and always has been - according to new research.

Blockchain monitoring platform PARISQ says that bitcoin is almost 50 times more concentrated in the hands of the few than global wealth. Ether's distribution, meanwhile, is 300 times more concentrated.

This means, according ot research shared with CryptoGlobe, that to enter the top 50% of bitcoin wealth, a person would need to own 347 bitcoins - worth at current prices $3.6 million. This 50% of bitcoin wealth is controlled by 0.023% of wallet addresses. By comparison, 50.1% of global wealth is controlled by 1% of the world's population.

PARSIQ dataSource: PARISQ

PARISQ's research shows that 1,805 wallet addresses control half of all bitcoins in circulation. Expanded to the top five cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, just 6,457 individual wallets addresses control all assets.

Whale Wallets

The largest such holders of cryptocurrency - particuarly bitcoin - are know colloquially as "whales", and with such concentrated holdings of assets by relatively few investors raises the danger of price volatility should any whale decide to sell a large slice of their holdings.

Such large transactions are often completed undercover - perhaps by special arrangement with crypto exchanges - so that prices remain relatively stable. It is the goal of any trader, however, to buy low and sell high, and it remains totally within the whale's power to manipulate the market in its favour. Such strategies are the staple diets of hedge funds.

It is thought the major holders of this concentration of bitcoin and crypto wealth are founders, early adopters and institutions such as hedge funds and investment houses.

Indeed, PARISQ's co-founder Andre Kalinowski said:

Cryptocurrencies were created with the desire to create a more egalitarian society away from government manipulation and centralized control. However, the latest research has found that cryptocurrency wealth is controlled by a small number of early adopter and exchange-owned whale wallets.

Monitoring Manipulation

Among the top five cryptocurrencies by market cap, XRP is the most concentrated, with just 14 wallets controlling 50% of the market. Ether comes next with 50% of all digital tokens held by 346 wallets.

The research found that much hadn't changed in years. Kalinowski added that although mass media interest during the crypto-market's peak between December 2017-February 2018 brought significant interest from retail investors, very little has changed under the surface. The whales still hold cryptocurrencies long-term and still have the ability to move the markets. He concluded:

The fact is, the transparency that’s part of the DNA of cryptocurrencies has been clouded by the size and complexity involved in analysing these cryptocurrencies. It’s time to open up the blockchain to everyone, to encourage fairer wealth distribution, or at least ensure the whales are more accountable through better monitoring.