Ian Balina Charges 'Lizard Squad' Over His Token Clean-Out

Ian Balina Charges ‘Lizard Squad’ Over His Token Clean-Out

In April 2018, cryptocurrency pundit Ian Balina was allegedly hacked for what was then worth approximately $2 million USD in ERC20 tokens. At the time, apparent inconsistencies in Balina’s story made many wonder if the theft was a tax-dodging tall tale. In the latest development to the episode, Balina and his team have allegedly “received intel” that the hacker group Lizard Squad were behind the theft of his tokens and several recent attacks in the space. 

Also see: Michael Terpin on ICOs: ‘We’re Big Fans of What They’ve Done in Singapore’

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Ian Balina: ‘They’re Paying Employees at Phone Carriers’

In a series of July 1st tweets, self-described crypto evangelist Ian Balina has publicly declared what he claims to be new clues regarding his April 2018 token clean-out.

In his new remarks, Balina said he had received information that the infamous hacker group named Lizard Squad had not only stolen his funds but were also behind the recent Bithumb exchange attack.

Balina went on to say that the hacker group were executing “phone/SIM swaps” and “paying employees at phone carriers” through the dark web in order to compromise crypto users’ accounts.

Not citing who, Balina claimed “Numerous people in investor networks” have already fallen prey to Lizard Squad and that “International law enforcement” were honing in on the group.

Balina did not immediately return comment on how he received his intel, though I will update this article accordingly if he chooses to do so. Dark web-facilitated penetration of phone carriers is indeed an insidious charge, and, if true, such nefariousness would cause many in the cryptoverse to reconsider their online habits.

On the flip side, though, many people are still unconvinced over Balina’s original theft narrative and thus what he’s alleged to have ensued.


Skeptics Not Convinced from Before

Questions have remained ever since Balina’s token clean-out in April.

The alleged theft took place as Balina was in the middle of a YouTube livestream, at which point someone messaged him:

“Ian, did you know that somebody transferred all your tokens from your account?”

$2 million in tokens had apparently been swept from the pundit’s wallet, and he promptly shut off the livestream. In the aftermath, Balina posted several Medium articles and tweets about having been hacked, many of which he’s since taken down.

Perhaps the most glaring inconsistency in Balina’s remarks on the episode were highlighted by a Redditor who saw what seemed to be the slip-up in real-time.


The Redditor pointed out that Balina had tweeted out that the hackers had moved his stolen tokens to KuCoin to sell them. What was strange, the Redditor noted, was that the tweet was quickly deleted and the coins from the observed wallet were thereafter sent to KuCoin. Accordingly, many concluded that Balina was actually engineering a facade and that he had unwittingly betrayed himself by prematurely jumping the gun on his narrative.

In the absence of overwhelming evidence either way, it’s impossible to say what exactly happened. All that’s known for sure for now is that 1) Balina is pinpointing Lizard Squad for the theft, while 2) many in the space don’t trust his story. These skeptics would surely contend that the Lizard Squad, having a history of high-profile hacks, would merely be a convenient scapegoat for Balina’s tax evasion.

Wherever it goes, Bitsonline will keep you posted on the episode as it continues to develop.

What’s your take? Is the “Lizard Squad” something to be taken seriously? Let us know where you stand in the comments below. 

Images via u/Anonymous-Kid-Cookie, Ian Balina

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