The hacker behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency heist has shown their soft side by giving half of the £433million haul back.
A thief struck crypto platform Poly Network on Tuesday, stealing around £193million of Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency.
They also stole £182million of Binance coins and roughly £61.5million in USDC coins.
At the time, Poly Network asked the hacker to give back the cash. Astonishingly, the thief has now agreed.
The hacker said they “were not very interested in money” and only stole it to prove a point to Poly Network about their security needing improvement.
Poly Network said on Twitter that it has had around £240.5million of cryptocurrency returned, and is waiting on the hacker – who it calls ‘Mr. White Hat’ – to give back the remaining £193.5million.
In hacking lingo, ‘white hat’ hackers act for good reasons, and ‘black hat’ ones for bad or criminal ones.
The phrases come from old cowboy films, where the hero would often wear a white stetson hat to mark him out from his enemies, who would wear black ones.
Mr. White Hat gave the reasons for his cyber attack online, via anonymous notes.
The hacker said: “I know it hurts when people are attacked, but shouldn’t they learn something from those hacks?”
The thief said they had spotted a weakness in Poly Network, and that they wanted to “expose the vulnerability before any insiders hiding and exploiting it”.
Poly Network connects together different blockchains – the digital storehouses cryptocurrencies rely on. The aim is to let the different cryptocurrencies join up, which they currently struggle to do.
What are the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrency is not regulated in the UK, unlike most other financial products.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) watchdog does monitor crypto, but only to prevent money laundering or funding terrorism.
That means if you put money into anything to do with crypto and lose it you will probably never see it again.
Many other financial deals are regulated by the FCA, meaning your money is protected up to £85,000 if the company goes bust or your money is stolen somehow.
This is thanks to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), a fund financial firms pay in to.
You can check on the FCA or FSCS websites to see if a company you are interested in is regulated and safe to deal with.
A month ago police seized the UK’s largest cryptocurrency haul, worth almost £180million, after a crackdown on international money laundering.
The seizures were made by detectives from the Economic Crime Command unit of London’s Metropolitan Police, and are believed to be criminal assets.
The Metropolitan Police also arrested a 39-year-old woman on June 24 on suspicion of money laundering offences. She was released on bail.
The Mirror has also previously reported that the prices of cryptocurrencies are notoriously volatile. They go up and down for many reasons, ranging from financial regulation to tweets from Tesla chief executive Elon Musk.
For example, earlier this year Musk put the word ‘Bitcoin’ in his Twitter biography and the price of the currency rose by 20%.