“Magic: The Gathering” Cards Used in Possible Cashout by Uranium Finance Hacker

Brian Yue
Last updated: | 1 min read
Pseudonymous blockchain sleuth ZachXBT posted an X thread on Thursday which detailed a series of moves by the hacker, who reportedly withdrew 11,200 ETH over the past year from Tornado Cash in 100 ETH increments.
Source: Pixabay

A hacker who targeted the Uranium Finance DeFi platform in 2021 may have attempted to launder their stolen crypto gains by using “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards.

Pseudonymous blockchain sleuth ZachXBT posted an X thread on Thursday which detailed a series of moves by the hacker, who reportedly withdrew 11,200 ETH over the past year from Tornado Cash in 100 ETH increments.

The hacker subsequently engaged in a series of transactions, converting the withdrawn ETH to wrapped ETH (WETH) and transferring it to a different address. The individual then exchanged it for USDC and proceeded to utilize a portion of the funds to purchase “Magic: The Gathering” trading cards.

A portion of the funds was also deposited into centralized exchanges, specifically Kraken, Bitpay, and Coinbase.

The on-chain investigator pointed out that the additional steps taken, such as depositing funds into centralized exchanges and the purchase of trading cards, could be strategic efforts to complicate the tracing of funds back to their original source.

This source is likely associated with the 2021 exploit of the Uranium Finance decentralized exchange, when considering correlation in timing between the deposit of funds by the Uranium hacker into Tornado Cash and the subsequent withdrawal by the individual purchasing MTG card.

“In March 2023, the Uranium hacker deposited 52 X 100 ETH to Tornado & this person received 52 X 100 ETH,” ZachXBT said. “March 6 & 14: Uranium Hacker deposits 52 X 100 ETH to Tornado. March 7 & 15: Our person withdrew huge volumes from Tornado.”

To purchase the trading cards, ZachXBT said that the hacker first enlisted the services of a U.S.-based broker who, in turn, reached out to sellers on their behalf. After communicating with multiple sellers engaged in the transactions, ZachXBT discovered that the buyer was making substantial purchases, spending millions on items such as starter decks, alpha sets, and sealed boxes.

Notably, the hacker overpaid by 5-10% for these items. The hacker sent cryptocurrency upfront to the broker, maintaining complete anonymity and never disclosing their identity to the sellers.

Uranium Finance, a decentralized finance platform based on the Binance Smart Chain and a fork of Uniswap, experienced a significant loss of $50 million in a 2021 hack. A hacker exploited a calculation error in the platform’s code, enabling them to drain liquidity from the protocol.