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Business News/ News / World/  $25 million stolen in 12 seconds: MIT graduates pull off crypto heist in Ethereum blockchain scheme

$25 million stolen in 12 seconds: MIT graduates pull off crypto heist in Ethereum blockchain scheme

The Peraire-Bueno brothers attended Cambridge, Massachusetts-based MIT and studied computer science and math.

File: Ethereum (ETH) Premium
File: Ethereum (ETH) 

The Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Wednesday arrested two brothers who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, alleging they carried out a cutting-edge scheme to steal $25 million worth of cryptocurrency and exploit the Ethereum blockchain’s integrity, reported the New York Post.

According to the report, the federal prosecutor identified the accused as Anton Peraire-Bueno, 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, 28. They cited that this was the first time that a fraud like this had ever been the subject of US criminal charges.

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Stating that the Peraire-Bueno brothers executed their elaborate heist in April 2023, the federal officers say they stole $25 million from traders in just 12 seconds after fraudulently gaining access to pending transactions and then altering the movement of cryptocurrency.

“As we allege, the defendants’ scheme calls the very integrity of the blockchain into question," New York Post quoted US Attorney Damian Williams as saying.

The authorities have charged the Peraire-Bueno brothers with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The report also mentioned that Anton was arrested in Boston, while James was held in New York.

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The Peraire-Bueno brothers attended MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they studied computer science and math. Prosecutors claim they used their skills and education to commit fraud.

The prosecutors claimed that both plotted for months to manipulate and tamper with the protocols used to validate transactions for inclusion on the Ethereum blockchain.

In addition, the prosecutors said that the Peraire-Bueno brothers exploited a vulnerability in the code of software called MEV-boost, used by most Ethereum network 'validators'. These validators check whether new transactions are valid before they are added to the blockchain.

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Following they carried out the heist, the Peraire-Bueno brothers declined requests to return the funds. Instead, they took steps to launder and hide the stolen cryptocurrency, added the prosecutors.

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Published: 16 May 2024, 04:17 PM IST
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