On Tuesday, hackers pulled off one of the biggest heists in crypto history, stealing more than $600 million from decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Poly Network. Within a day, the thieves started sending back scoops of their cryptocurrency trail mix, which included ether, bitcoin, dogecoin, and hundreds of others. $256 million was returned as of yesterday afternoon.
How they pulled it off is still being investigated, but in an online Q&A, the hackers said they spotted a bug and made off with their haul “to keep it safe.” Also, “for fun:).”
Why return it?
It’s possible the bandits were intimidated by Poly Network, which posted a tweet warning the cybercriminals that they “will be pursued” by law enforcement and that it would be “unwise for you to do any further transactions.”
Zoom out: Illicit activity in the cryptocurrency space has been ramping up, especially in the emerging sector of decentralized finance—which includes a variety of blockchain-conducted financial applications. Government regulators and independent companies are racing to figure out how to fight back.