600 Million Stolen Returned: DeFi’s Biggest Hack

Key points

  • Poly Network
  • Reason For hack
  • Amount of Money Stolen
  • Reason for Returning the Money

Back in August 2021, Poly Network, a decentralized finance platform was targeted through a cyber-attack, resulting in the loss of more than $600 million worth of cryptocurrency being stolen. It is also considered one of the biggest crypto heists of all time. The attack was confirmed by Poly Network through Twitter and also requested the attacker to return the money. In a strange turn of events, the attacker returned all the money stolen, the next day, claiming he was not interested in money and did it for fun. 

Poly Network

Poly Network is a Decentralized Finance (DeFi) network, launched by Chinese network Neo. This network uses peer-to-peer networking, allowing users to transact across many blockchains. Over a DeFi platform, users can lend and borrow money, trade digital currencies, earn interest, and trade on the stock market without any need for a financial intermediary. 

Reason For hack

Poly Network, allow users to trade cryptocurrency between various blockchains through peer-to-peer networking. 

As per the information provided by BlockSec, a Chinese blockchain security company, the reason for the hack was the release of the private key, which was used to sign the cross-chain message. The initial attack analysis report states that the attack was possible because of a bug in Poly’s signing mechanism. As DeFi works on code, the possibility of having bugs is very common. Fixing these bugs is possible, but it will be expensive and challenging. 

The hacker told that he hacked into Poly Network to reveal the weakness of the network. The money was stolen to prove the point and to ensure that the security flaws weren’t patched silently. The hacker also revealed that it was always his intention to return the money.       

Amount of Money Stolen

Attack on Poly Network has commenced through three blockchains: Polygon, Binance Smart Chain, and Ethereum. The attacker stole $611 million in funds.

  • $273 million worth of Ethereum
  • $253 million worth of BSC
  • $85 worth of Polygon

Reason for Returning the Money

The Poly Network attack was executed at a time when cybercrimes related to DeFi were at an all-time high. In their message to the hacker, Poly Network said, “This will be regarded as a major crime in every country by law enforcement, and you will be punished”.

Tom Robinson, the co-founder of Elliptic, believes that money was returned because laundering this amount of money would have been very difficult. The transparency of blockchain and the wide use of analytics by financial institutions would have influenced the hacker’s decision in returning the money. 

The amount of publicity that the hack has garnered would have made it extremely difficult for the hacker to move funds as they would have been watched, so he decided to return all the money.  

Disclaimer: The article is just to provide information and shouldn’t be considered as any financial advice. It is advisable to conduct thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency. 

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