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The $600M Crypto Heist (And How It Impacts Cryptocurrencies' Future)

The $600M Crypto Heist (And How It Impacts Cryptocurrencies' Future)

Last updated 12th Apr 2022
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Weeks ago, the crypto world was caught off guard by a bold heist of about $600M.

Unlike the traditional bank siege, where you rely on the news for updates, a crypto heist unfolds directly from your smartphone. In other words, you can see it happening.

On Tuesday afternoon, Poly Network — a project looking to link up blockchains — raised the alarm about the heist. They claimed an alleged hacker stole thousands of digital tokens. And later published the address of the hacker’s virtual “wallets”.

But their noble action didn’t stop the hacker from pulling the funds further from their grasp. So, in a desperate move, the Poly project pleaded with miners and centralized exchanges to step in and stop the heist. It somehow worked.

Tether managed to freeze $33M. Binance and OKEx — two of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world — promised to do something about it as well.

Hacker “Saves” Poly Project from Flaws

Meanwhile, the hacker reached out to Poly through blockchain — claiming the heist was meant to “save” the project from future attacks by highlighting its flaws. And that they were “not so interested in money”, said the alleged hacker.

The hacker has since returned $342M, promising to return the rest of the loot.

Head of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, hailed the hacker’s actions, especially for responding publicly. “I hope he does the right thing,” said Zhao.

What the Heist Reveals About the Future of Crypto

This heist reveals a lot about the digital markets — they’re too transparent than traditional financial systems. You can see every transaction on the blockchain.

How the heist unfolded publicly is a testament to those transparency claims.

This heist also shows that the digital market system can police itself without involving the authorities. So far, law enforcement hasn’t been involved in this matter.

This type of self-enforcement and self-regulation is a bold step that highlights the evolution of the digital asset industry. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized. Thus, they should be out of reach of the government and other prominent authorities.

In a traditional bank heist, when the bad guy is caught, they face the consequences. So how should crypto respond if the alleged hacker is caught, say, in the future?

In a world that sets its own rules, do you sue them, attempt to seize the stolen digital coins, or turn them to the police?

Armchair detectives on Twitter that stepped onto the scene (as the “drama” unfolded publicly) say that since the hacker merely exploited a security loophole left by Poly Network’s project developers. They add that the hacker should keep the loot as the rightful owner. Do you agree?

Walter Akolo

Walter Akolo

Walter is a writer from Nairobi, Kenya. He covers the latest news on the cryptocurrency market and blockchain industry. Walter has a decade of experience as a writer.