Hackers Behind Poly Network Heist Return $258 Million to the Platform

Divya  |  Aug 12, 2021

Hackers behind the largest DeFi heist have returned a third of $613 million stolen in digital assets. The exploit, which occurred on the Poly Network protocol, saw hackers steal funds in Ethereum, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain tokens.

Poly Network Hackers Return $258M, Conduct AMA to Explain the Event

Following Poly Network’s appeal, the attacker proposed to return the stolen assets, while claiming that they were "not very interested in money". On Wednesday, the company said that it had recovered over $250 million and that another $353 million were still pending.

After negotiations, one of the hackers released a three-page ask me anything session, asserting that they had always intended to return the assets. Moreover, they clarified that the attack was conducted to alert Poly Network about its vulnerabilities before others could exploit it.

"I know it hurts when people are attacked, but shouldn't they learn something from those hacks?," the hacker stated in embedded Ethereum messages.

When asked why they had specifically targeted Poly Network, the hacker said that they did it "for fun" since “cross-chain hacking is hot.” But they maintained that the attack was for a good cause and that they did not want to create a "real panic [in] the crypto-world."

Laundering and Cashing Out Stolen Assets is Extremely Difficult

Not everyone believes the Poly Network hack was well-intentioned. Elliptic co-founder Tom Robinson, for one, feels the funds were returned because laundering money on this scale is a headache on the blockchain. 

"Even if you can steal crypto-assets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the broad use of blockchain analytics by financial institutions," Robinson emphasized.
He added, “I wonder whether this hacker stole the funds, realized how much publicity and attention they were getting, realized wherever they moved the funds they would be watched and decided to give it back.”

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