The Story Behind the Renowned Icelandic, “Big Bitcoin Heist”: From Mastermind to Execution
Iceland is known for having the world’s largest bitcoin mine. Given so much space and low electricity, it is a spot that most eye when it comes to Bitcoin mining. However, the country is also known for having witnessed five crypto data centers that were broken into in a span of two months reports Vanity Fair. The accumulated loss? A gross $2 million. Turns out, 60% of them had a crew in common, led by mastermind, Sindri Thor Stefansson and his partner in crime, Hafthor Logi Hlynsson.
Who is Sindri Thor Stefansson?
Stefansson (32) is considered the mastermind of what Iceland calls the “Big Bitcoin Heist,” and many know him as being a famous thief. In the interview with the news outlet, Stefansson seems to be pleased with the work he’s done, stating:
“It’s the biggest burglary in the history of Iceland. So, I guess it’s my biggest yet.”
Taking everyone back in time, the thief shared that he’s always been a “naughty boy” as young as the kindergarten times, where he smashed into the school window to open the door. It’s supposedly the thrill that arose from such activity that led him towards this path.
He met his ‘best friend and partner in crime,’ Hlynsson at the age of six. What started as a combined effort in stealing from an elderly working at a shopping small, led the duo to commit the Bitcoin Heist. As he aged, he involved himself in all the things people are advised against, and by his early adulthood he had 200 cases of petty crime.
While in prison, Stefansson decided to get clean and start a new life. He got married and graduated with a degree in computer science. Having done odd jobs for far too long and in need of more money, he eventually came across Bitcoin mining (something that he was interested in).
Mr.X to Have Opened Stefansson’s Eyes
In 2017, Stefansson supposedly made an acquaintance called, Mr. X who is described as being a ‘dangerous international investor.’ Sharing his visions of mining Bitcoin,
Mr. X stopped the lad by asking, “Why go to all the expense and effort to start your own Bitcoin mind, when you can get a head start into the business by stealing computers from the competition.”
What did Stefansson get out of this? 15% of the goods, which supposedly amounts to 1.2 million per year forever. Stefansson was amazed by the entirety of computers being able to create money. He said:
“You’re stealing machines that make money. Making money while you sleep.”
The Plan Right Up Until Its Execution
Mr. X was supposedly the one to have rounded up a crew of five Icelandic men in their twenties. Given that everyone knew each other, the plans will be discussed at a friend’s house in Reykjavik. The crew itself can be considered a hierarchy, with the lower step consisting of 2 boys who had clean police records, then comes “the brains”, Hlynsson and obviously there’s the boss, who the police deem is Stefansson, but to him it was all about following Mr. X.
Stefansson had all the possible tools he needed for the team to succeed in the Bitcoin Heist. They even thought out communication, i.e. Telegram, because it is encrypted, and messages can be self-destructed. Some communication also took place in a Facebook Group called, “Foruneytid” (or the Fellowship).
At the time of the Bitcoin Heist, there supposedly wasn’t any securities walking around, as most simply stared at security monitors. The Heist started with breaking into Algrim Consulting data center. Then, they tried to attempt it at the Borealis Data Center, only to fail, but according to Stefansson, the police were slow in investigating the situation. Although what they had stolen sufficed, it seems like the crew wanted more power.
Stefansson at some point got an innocent call from his friend from school who was working as an electrician. He shared that the AVK Data Center required more electricity for something called Bitcoin. After having studied the AVK Data Center’s area and realizing that it was an early establishment with no security, it automatically became the next victim.
Stefansson and his buddy eventually got arrested but given how polite they were and having conversated with the thieves for three days, the police had nothing on them, and they were released.
In the same way, with additional reach to an insider, they hit the Advania Data Center. Eventually arrested again, but this time Stefansson was caught for good because he failed to delete information from his phone, which the police were able to access.
A Loophole in the Icelandic Law
According to the reportings, staging a prison break is not considered breaking the law because “all human beings are naturally entitled to freedom and thus cannot be punished for seeking it.” This is exactly what Stefansson did after some three months passed, and eventually flew to Stockholm under someone else’s name. Apparently, Sweden doesn’t require Icelandic travellers to carry a valid ID or passport.
Having reached Amsterdam at some point in his travels, he met with some members of his crew only to get caught again because of a picture of the trio that went on Hlysson’s Instagram. Ultimately, he was sentenced with four-and-a-half-years in prison.
As for Mr. X, he still remains at large with the stolen 550 computers. When Stefansson was asked if he were Mr. X, how he’d rate the entirety of the Heist, he replied, “A masterpiece. I just wish I had done it.”
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