The person believed to be behind one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts in history revealed it was done “for fun” and has returned more than half of the tokens.
The saga began on Tuesday, when the decentralized finance platform Poly Network was hit by a cyberattack in which the hacker or hackers took advantage of a vulnerability. Poly Network then announced the crime and wrote a letter pleading with the hacker to return the stolen cryptocurrency.
“We want to establish communication with you and urge you to return the hacked assets,” Poly Network said in the missive posted to Twitter. “The amount of money you hacked is the largest in DeFi history. Law enforcement in any country will regard this as a major economic crime and you will be pursued. … You should talk to us to work out a solution.”
In addition to publishing the virtual addresses of the hacker in order for the cryptocurrency community to blacklist tokens coming from them, Poly Network also published new addresses where it encouraged the hacker to deposit the stolen cryptocurrency into.
As of Thursday morning, more than half of the stolen tokens, some $342 million, have been returned to Poly Network using three addresses, according to Chainalysis. The hacker also apparently communicated with the outside world in notes that accompanied some transactions.
The alleged hacker wrote “for fun : )” in describing the motivation behind the massive heist.
“I take the responsibility to expose the vulnerability before any insiders hiding and exploiting it!” the hacker said. “I understood the risk of exposing myself even if I don't do evil. So I used temporary email, IP or _so called_ fingerprint, which were untraceable. I prefer to stay in the dark and save the world.”
It is unclear how much of the stolen cryptocurrency will be returned, although funds have been flowing back at a steady rate since Wednesday.
The news comes as the United States eyes increased regulations of cryptocurrencies, partially in an effort to prevent hacks like this from occurring.
Securities and Exchange Chairman Gary Gensler recently described the cryptocurrency realm as a “Wild West” filled with fraud, scams, and abuse. Gensler also wrote to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling on Congress to vest his agency with more regulatory power.
There has also been hand wringing over the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which contains language that expands IRS tax-reporting requirements in an effort to recoup billions in revenue. Cryptocurrency advocates said the text is too broad and could hurt blockchain software developers, cryptocurrency miners, and other parties.
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Original Author: Zachary Halaschak
Original Location: Crypto hacker who stole $600 million ‘for fun’ keeps nearly half the loot