According to Israeli sources, a man named Afek Zard is charged with stealing around 75,000 Dash from his friend Alexei Yaromenko after learning about cryptocurrency from Yaromenko. Reportedly, Yaromenko trusted Zard alone in his apartment in Eilat, a city at the southern edge of Israel near the Jordanian and Egyptian borders.
Authorities say Zard gained access to the apartment through a key that Yaromenko had given him. While they have not indicted anyone else yet, they mention the possibility that Zard had help. It’s unclear how he compromised the password to Yaromenko’s Dash wallet, but it is clear that he transferred 75,000 Dash using Dash’s anonymization features, which implicated a total of four addresses. The funds were worth a reported $6.2 million at the time. At press time, 75,000 Dash is worth over $9 million. Reportedly, they were worth $82.50 at the time of theft.
75,000 Dash would put you near the top of the rich list in Dash, with almost 1% of all outstanding Dash. The richest wallet on the network possesses just over 125,000 at press time. We can’t verify what addresses were owned by Yaromenko, but we can note that there have been significant changes to the rich list since January.
The state mentions that Zard used coin shuffling in an attempt to obscure his theft. It’s unclear how they determined that he was the culprit, but it seems a mix of physical evidence and testimony from the victim contributed to the case against him.
Reportedly, Yaromenko has been trading cryptos since 2013. It’s doubtful that he only held Dash, but it seems Dash was the cryptocurrency to which Zard gained access.
The story brings to light the importance of using secure devices to store cryptocurrency. While Zard probably hatched his scheme and spent a long time planning it, a few extra security steps could have prevented the theft. Employing a hardware wallet and keeping in on his person at all times, for one, would have prevented Yaromenko’s loss.
There’s no reason to believe, at present, that he will have his funds returned – certainly not in Dash, which has appreciated roughly 50% in the meantime. Hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor add an extra step to managing cryptocurrencies, but they also make it much more difficult to steal them.
Additionally, assuming Yaromenko allowed Zard access to the same computer on which he stored his crypto, he should not have used the same account for crypto as he did for everything else. There is a growing sentiment that general purpose computers are not an ideal way to deal in cryptocurrencies – they should be treated the same way that mobile devices are when it comes to storing crypto.
Nevertheless, the real security risk was trusting another human being, and we can assume that Zard would have succeeded eventually, with this level of access, regardless of any measures that Yaromenko took.