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MIT Students Allegedly Stole $25M in Cryptocurrencies

Anton, aged 24, and James Peraire-Bueno, aged 28, are both MIT-educated individuals. They now find themselves at the center of a legal storm, facing serious charges. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the brothers orchestrated an elaborate scheme.  

Their alleged goal?  To steal a staggering $25 million in a mere 12 seconds. And how did they achieve this seemingly impossible feat? By exploiting a vulnerability in the Ethereum blockchain, according to the DOJ’s claims. 

Anton and James Peraire-Bueno, accused of stealing $25M in cryptocurrencies

Charges and Consequences 

The brothers stand accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  What are the potential penalties? If found guilty, they could each face a maximum of 20 years in prison per count. 

What Was Their Plan? 

  • Strategic Initiation: Allegedly, the scheme was set in motion in December 2022 after extensive planning.  
  • Blockchain Manipulation: Anton and James purportedly leveraged their computer science and math expertise to tamper with pending private transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.  
  • Vulnerability Exploitation: They reportedly took advantage of a vulnerability in the blockchain, enabling them to modify transactions in their favor before incorporation into the blockchain. 

Execution Method 

  • Validator Establishment: The brothers allegedly established a network of Ethereum validators via shell companies and foreign exchanges to conceal their identities. 
  • Bait Transactions: They supposedly used bait transactions to lure specialized bots, which they then manipulated to reorder blocks favorably. 

Concealment Strategies 

  • Elaborate Cover-Up: Anton and James allegedly went to great lengths to conceal their illicit gains, employing tactics like setting up shell companies and using numerous private cryptocurrency addresses.  
  • Online Maneuvers: Their online activity, including searches for cryptocurrency laundering methods and legal advice, suggests efforts to evade detection. 
Anton and James Peraire-Bueno, accused of stealing $25M in cryptocurrencies
Source: https://nypost.com/2024/05/15/business/mit-educated-brothers-allegedly-stole-25m-in-crypto-in-just-12-seconds/


  • Money Trail Tracking: Investigators meticulously followed the flow of funds to uncover the scheme’s scope.  
  • Collaborative Approach: Cutting-edge technology and traditional investigative methods were utilized in the inquiry. 

Potential Regulatory Consequences 

  • SEC Scrutiny: The alleged fraud may influence the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision regarding the approval of an Ethereum exchange-traded fund. 
  • Investor Safeguarding: SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s cautious stance underscores broader concerns for investor protection in the crypto realm. 

The alleged $25 million crypto theft attributed to the Peraire-Bueno brothers underscores the urgent need for stringent regulation in the cryptocurrency sector. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks inherent in digital asset investment.  

As law enforcement explore further into such cases, it becomes increasingly crucial for investors to remain vigilant. Safeguarding against potential scams and fraudulent activities is paramount in this rapidly evolving landscape. 

May 17, 2024 at 12:00 am

Updated May 17, 2024 at 12:00 am


Remember, investing in cryptocurrencies involves risks, and it’s important to conduct thorough research and seek professional advice before making any financial decisions. (Please keep in mind that this post is solely for informative purposes and should not be construed as financial or investment advice.)


Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology ensuring secure and tamper-proof transactions, shared across a network.

Yes, blockchain enhances cybersecurity by making data difficult to hack or alter through it's decentralized structure.

Blockchains record cryptocurrency transactions like Bitcoin securely and transparently.

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