You know that feeling where you lose $600 million, but someone kindly returns half?
A $600 million cryptocurrency heist took an unexpected turn after the attackers returned over $260 million of the stolen funds.
$260 Million Stolen Cryptocurrency Returned
On August 11, 2021, decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Poly Network reported being a victim to a $611 million cryptocurrency hack.
Poly Network may be a combined decentralized finance platform protocol that permits users to exchange between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major blockchain networks.
The Poly Network attacker made off with quite $270 million of Ethereum, $256 million of Binance Smart Chain tokens, and an extra $85 million worth of Polygon tokens, making the attack the only largest DeFi hack, accounting for more stolen funds in one attack than all others combined.
But in an unexpected twist, the attacker returned a variety of cryptocurrencies to the Poly Network. As a result, accounts related to the Poly Network received $3.3 million of Ethereum, $256 million of Binance Smart Chain tokens, and $1 million worth of Poly Network tokens.
However, that also leaves around $269 million Ethereum unaccounted for and $84 million in Polygon tokens.
Crypto Hacker Has a Considerable Conscience?
That the hacker returned any tokens in the least is quite miraculous. In most cryptocurrency hacks, the funds are irretrievably lost as soon as they leave the account.
In this instance, things have taken a significant change of pace. The attacker published a series of questions and answers regarding the attack and, therefore, the reasons behind it.
— Tom Robinson (@tomrobin) August 11, 2021
In short, the attacker spotted an exploitable bug within the Poly Network, although in their own words, “the Poly hack isn’t as fancy as you imagine.”
But the overwhelming voice within the attackers Q&A is that the hack isn’t necessarily malicious, rather illustrating that the Poly Network isn’t secure. If they might master the attack, somebody else would eventually figure it out.
Insider? Not me, but who knows? I take the responsibility to show the vulnerability before any insiders hiding and exploiting it!
All in all, it’s been a whirlwind 24 hours within the world of cryptocurrency. The Poly Network may be a protocol that permits crypto users to swap currencies between different blockchains.
But the attack illustrates the catastrophic losses that are part and parcel of cryptocurrency, one among the most important differences between cryptos and fiat currency. When cryptocurrency is stolen, there’s little or no the victim can do aside from hope and pray that the attacker gains a conscience, and rapidly so.