Hacker of the Biggest Cryptocurrency Heist Returns $260m

The hacker, who recently wreaked havoc, said he did the hacking 'for fun'.
Ameya Paleja
Cryptocurrency hacker says had good intentions at heartBackyardProduction/iStock

Within a day of carrying out the biggest heist on a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform, the hacker has paid back coins worth $260 million, BBC reported. Earlier yesterday, PolyNetwork, the cryptocurrency interoperability platform which was hacked, had reached out to the hacker in a public message over Twitter and suggested returning the coins. 

The hacker, whose identity is still unknown had exploited a vulnerability in PolyNetwork's system and stolen multiple cryptocurrencies, worth $600 million. Naming the heist a "major economic crime" in any country, PolyNetwork had suggested that they would pursue the hackers. Since blockchain is a public ledger, it was easy for the company to highlight which of the tokens were stolen and transferred to which accounts. However, since cryptocurrencies are not backed by central banks in most countries, it would have been difficult to pursue legal action, even if the hacker was pursued and found. 

Hours after the incident, however, the hacker began returning the cryptocurrencies to the network. As of the recent update from PolyNetwork, only $268 million worth of Ethereum remains to be returned. 

On his part, the hacker has released clarifications on his actions in the Ethereum transactions he has done so far. These were compiled and tweeted out by Tom Robinson, the Chief Scientist and Co-Founder of Elliptic, a company that helps crypto businesses avoid crypto crimes such as the PolyNetwork hack.

In his clarifications, the hacker states that keeping the heist money was never his intention. Rather, he wanted to bring to the attention of the PolyNetwork team the vulnerabilities in their system. Hackers who look for system vulnerabilities are called White Hat hackers, and usually contact the company to fix the issues before any harm is caused.

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While praising the system, the hacker said that he spent a good amount of time finding a vulnerability to exploit, but needed to make a big scene, so that the PolyNetwork team would not patch up the gap quietly and without informing anyone. 

In his comments, the hacker seems to be fond of cryptocurrencies in general and wants its influence to expand in the future. However, he pointed out his dislike for Dogecoin, calling it 'a joke', explaining why his exploits did not include the cryptocurrency financing a mission to the moon

The hacker also said that he would like to work with the PolyNetwork team to beef up their security measures in the future, a sentiment echoed by many Twitter users as well. The hacker also set up a tip-jar for people who would prefer to support his future projects and had collected over $3700 worth of Ether coins so far. 

He also mentioned that his exploits had earned PolyNetwork new followers as well. He plans to eventually return all the cryptocurrency. 

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