P2P Crypto Platform Poly Network Hackers Targeted Smart Contracts, Have Returned Millions

Hackers of decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Poly Network have returned over a third of the $613 million they stole, Reuters reported.

Poly Network announced on Twitter that $260 million had been returned as of Wednesday (Aug. 11) afternoon. The network said there’s still another $269 million to be paid back in Ethereum and $84 million on Polygon.

Poly Network’s services let users swap tokens across various blockchains. The network had urged the hackers to return the funds, with a threat of legal action otherwise, according to Reuters.

The size of the theft was reportedly similar to the $530 million in digital coins stolen from Tokyo’s Coincheck in 2018, Reuters reported. The theft comes as the pandemic has seen an increase in cyberattacks and hackings. Poly Network’s $613 million was even bigger than the $474 million that the entire DeFi sector lost from January to July, which shows the risks of the primarily unregulated sector.

The hackers had been able to exploit a vulnerability in the digital contracts used by Poly Network in order to pull off the crime. The hackers said they did it “for fun” and had always planned to return the funds, per Reuters. They said they wanted to expose the vulnerability before others could.

“I am not very interested in money,” said the hacker, who Reuters reported has not been identified.

An executive from the cryptocurrency firm Tether reportedly said the company froze $33 million connected to the hack and other crypto executives had also offered help, according to Reuters.

The hack was likely the biggest crypto heist in history, PYMNTS reported earlier this week. Poly Network officials reached out on Twitter to the hackers in an attempt to start communication, which resulted in the aforementioned exchanges. The Poly Network said the money stolen had been taken from “tens of thousands of crypto community members.”

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