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Victim of $2 million livestreamed theft claims FBI involvement, responds to allegations

Ian Balina seems to be having a rough week and some are now making big accusations

FBI

Obviously, not a real photo because an FBI agent would leave his pistol lying around like that to use a laptop. Nonetheless, guys in windbreakers are Bobby Axelrod’s biggest nightmare and this guy has a windbreaker, so there’s that (via Shutterstock)

We love a good heist story. But there’s a big difference between the Icelandic heist where $2 million in mining rigs were stolen and the story from Monday where a single crypto YouTuber named Ian Balina lost $2 million to hackers.

“I’ll be ready to talk when the criminal has been arrested,” he told Modern Consensus Tuesday. “We have identified who did it and this is a lot bigger than me. Other big names in crypto have been hacked by this criminal. Currently working with FBI, that’s all that I can say.”

A representative from the FBI field office in New York City could not confirm they were investigating the case as of Thursday morning. When asked about how they could catch the criminals, FBI media spokesperson Amy J. Thorsen said, “We don’t discuss sources or methods as a matter of policy”

On Tuesday, Modern Consensus found a Binance wallet that appear to contain $49 million in crypto. At least some of it came from transfers out of wallets owned by Balina. However, some of it might also be connected to a string of attacks on public crypto traders—many of whom like to teach their audiences how to make crypto trades, but not how to secure their crypto winnings.

 

“Ian’s a perfect case of what not to do,” Kenn Bosak, host of the YouTube show Pure Blockchain Wealth, told The Verge. “He posted his portfolio publicly on Twitter, saying he had over $2 million in his portfolio, making himself a public target. That’s like saying ‘I have $2 million in cash under my mattress.’ You’re a walking honey pot.”

In September 2017, hackers stole $20,000 from Bosak and shut down his Twitter account. He never saw the money again.

Balina turned to his Telegram channel and to a subreddit to ask for any information. This led to a fair amount of victim shaming. It also had a number of users wondering if Balina getting attacked right before tax day was a little too convenient.

The allegations that I would pull a stunt like this publicly for tax evasion are completely ludicrous,” Balina told Modern Consensus. “Any attempts to write anything regarding those lies will be met with legal action.”

He sounds a bit testy. But then again, we might not be so chipper if we had the world watch us lose $2 million in a matter of seconds.

Brendan Sullivan is a writer, producer, and author of the memoir Rivington Was Ours: Lady Gaga, the Lower East Side, and the Prime of Our Lives. Disclosure: he owns cryptocurrencies. Follow him on Twitter.