In a daring move, hackers steal, and then return around $600 million in one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists. 

This after a string of ransomware attacks recently that exploited the vulnerabilities of several private and crypto companies. In the most recent cryptocurrency heist, the victim is blockchain site Poly Network. 

Shortly after the heist, Poly Network urged the hacker-thieves in Twitter to open communication and return all the hacked blockchain assets. 

In an extraordinary move, the hacker began giving back the funds in increments before returning millions. 

Poly said that the attacker transferred small amounts to Poly-controlled online wallets before sending larger amounts in the hundreds of millions. 

Biggest crypto heist in history

The Poly Network attack addressed the hackers in a tweet that they carried out “one of the the biggest heists in defi history.” The total heist loot comprised of Ether ($267 million), Binance ($252 million), and USDC tokens ($85 million).

The amount is equivalent roughly to the heists carried out against Mt Gox and Coincheck.

The blockchain company warned that the hackers have committed a major economic crime and authorities will no doubt pursue them relentlessly. 

Moreover, the firm stated that the stolen assets were owned by members of the cryptocurrency community, and therefore, were stolen “from the people.”

Here’s how the heist happened, according to Poly Network.

The hacker took advantage of a “vulnerability between  contract calls.” Shortly after the heist, Poly advised crypto exchanges to immediately block deposits. 

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that the company knew of the hack but admitted there was virtually nothing they could do. Nevertheless, the firm said they were communicating with their partners to offer assistance. 

Defi’s losses pile up

The heist has cost plenty for the defi sector. According to research firm CipherTrace, for the first seven months of the year, losses arising from fraud totaled $474 million. The good news is that losses in the crypto sector dipped to $681 million, lower than the astounding $1.9 billion in 2020 and 2019’s $4.5 billion.

Regarding the Poly Network attack, the company is awaiting full repayment from the hacker. The firm has stated that it believes the heist was carried out by a white-hat attacker. The hacker itself admitted that he stole from Poly “just for fun” and meant to return the money anyway. The hacker added that the heist was meant to educate Poly in beefing up its security.

As of writing, the hacker is still in possession of $33.4 million of Tether tokens, after Tether had the assets frozen.