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ETH Hacker Gets 10 Year Jail Term, But BTC Theft ‘May Not Be Criminal’ in China

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Tokens such as ethereum (ETH) and bitcoin (BTC) continue to rest on uneasy legal ground in China – where an ETH hacker who struck in 2018 was recently sentenced to 10 and a half years behind bars.

But prosecutors in the country have explained that it could be tricky to convict BTC thieves who have struck after the 2021 crackdown.Per a branch of the Guangxin District Peoples’ Court, an individual surnamed Li used a virus-like program to hack into an ETH wallet that belonged to an individual surnamed Miao.

Li then proceeded to steal a total of ETH 383.6722 between March 2018 and April 2018.Rather than stealing the entire stash at once, however, Li made a total of 520 withdrawal transactions from the wallet – in each case trading the ETH funds to tether (USDT).Police were able to recover funds worth USDT 109,458 from Li’s wallets.In addition to the prison sentence, the court handed Li a fine of around $28,000.China has carried out two crackdowns on crypto.

The first took place in 2017, when exchanges were essentially ordered to shut down and get out of the country. The second took place in September 2021, when Beijing told crypto miners to shut down their rigs and ordered banks to block crypto-related transactions.Interestingly, perhaps, China has never attempted to ban BTC or criminalize crypto ownership.

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