09 May

Around $20 million worth of bridged Ether has been unexpectedly returned to the ZKasino wallet, nearly three weeks after users accused the platform's founders of an exit scam.

 This development, reported on May 9 through an X feed dedicated to recovering funds from the scam, shows that a significant portion of the missing funds, approximately two-thirds, has been sent back to the project's multisignature wallet.

The return of 6,021 wstETH, a wrapped version of staked ETH, has sparked speculation among some observers that the scammers might be preparing to refund the victims as initially promised. ZKasino initially attracted users by offering an airdrop of its native token ZKAS to those who bridged ETH to the platform, with a commitment to return the ETH. However, instead of fulfilling this promise, the project moved a substantial amount of users' bridged Ethereum to the staking protocol Lido Finance.

This diversion of funds triggered accusations of an exit scam, leading to the arrest of a 26-year-old suspect by Dutch authorities on April 29. Following the arrest, law enforcement seized assets worth $12.2 million, including cryptocurrencies, real estate, and luxury cars. Some speculate that the arrested individual may be the project founder, known by the pseudonym "Derivatives Monke" and identified by blockchain investigators as Elham Nourzai.

Binance's on-chain investigations team played a crucial role in facilitating the suspect's arrest and froze millions of dollars worth of stolen crypto assets upon receiving a seizure warrant. Despite these efforts, illicit funds are still being moved on-chain, suggesting that other perpetrators may still be active. 

However, the recent return of funds to the ZKasino multisig wallet has provided hope to victims of the scam.
April witnessed a total of $25.7 million in cryptocurrency losses due to scams and hacks, according to data from CertiK, excluding the ZKasino incident. This represents the lowest historical figure since 2021, according to the firm's records.

May 2024, Cryptoniteuae

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