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Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on August 12, 2021

Hacker who stole $600M of crypto returns $260M… ’cos they don’t dig money?

Apparently the hacker just wanted to highlight the bug

Hacker who stole $600M of crypto returns $260M… ’cos they don’t dig money?
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Update 12/08/2021 4.40 IST: According to a report from Reuters, the hacker has now returned more than half of the money. 

Hackers stealing cryptocurrency is a regularevent in the last couple of years. But in a bizarre incident, a hacker who stole $600 million worth of cryptocurrency earlier this week, returned $260 million of them.

Here’s what happened. A hacker took advantage of a bug in Poly Network, a decentralized finance platform that lets you exchange various tokens, and stole $600 million in various digital currencies. This was touted as one of the biggest hacks in the decentralized world. 

A day later, the network tweeted that the unknown hacker has returned $1 million in Polygon, $3 million in Ethereum, and $256 million in BSC. However, more than $350 million worth of cryptocurrency still remains with the hacker.

As ZDNet noted, security researchers believe the attack is tied to a Poly Network privileged contract called the “EthCrossChainManager.” You can read more about the technicalities of the hack here

 Tom Robinson, the founder blockchains solutions company Elliptic, has shared a Q & A with the alleged hacker. In the post, the hacker claims that they didn’t want to cause any panic and wasn’t interested in the money:

I didn’t want to cause real panic of the crypto world. So I chose to ignore shit coins, so people didn’t have to worry about them going to zero. I took important tokens (except for Shib) and didn’t sell any of them.

One of the theories behind hackers returning the money is Poly Network’s threat of legal action. Robinson opined that the transparency of blockchain makes it difficult to launder the money, so the hacker decided to return it instead. We’ll have to wait and see they return all the money.

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