Poly Network loves its ‘white hat’ hacker now, will reward with $500K

Poly Network now curiously calls its attacker 'Mr. White Hat,' a reference to hackers who break systems for the greater good.

Embattled blockchain project Poly Network has offered $500,000 to the hacker who raided it for more than $600 million earlier this week, reports Reuters.

An unidentified thief stole a litany of cryptocurrencies from the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform on Tuesday, including an ungodly amount of Ether, Tether (USDT), USDC, and Shiba Inu, among others.

They exploited a critical flaw in the project’s smart contract for transferring tokens across blockchains. Poly Network was founded by Da Hongfei, the Chinese entrepreneur behind altcoin NEO.

But rather than dumping the crypto pronto and sailing off into the sunset, the hacker decided to hand back the digital assets after internet sleuths closed in.

By Wednesday night, Poly Network’s attacker had returned more than $250 million worth of the stolen crypto.

The next day, Poly Network confirmed it had received all but $33 million in stablecoin USDT (which Tether froze shortly after the hack).

But there’s a complication. A large chunk of the remaining crypto (around $268 million) was sent to a wallet controlled by both the platform and its attacker.

This means the platform — built to help swap digital assets — must coordinate with its attacker to fully retrieve the funds.

The hacker reportedly claims they were always going to return the crypto, which they stole for fun.

Poly Network said it’s working with the hacker to resolve the situation. The startup says it will pay them $500,000 once all the pilfered crypto is back under its control.

Poly Network says hacker was a white hat

Despite losing a truly epic amount of funds (and face), Poly Network has struck a magnanimous tone.

The firm initially threatened to press criminal charges. Now, Poly Network curiously refers to its thief as “Mr. White Hat,” a reference to white hat hackers who break systems for the greater good (with permission).

“We appreciate you sharing your experience and we believe your action constitutes white hat behavior.”

The technicals were described by Ethereum dev Kelvin Fichter (H/T Chainalysis).

[Read more: Crypto breaks 2 records in a day for biggest fine and DeFi hack]

Poly Network also told Mr. White Hat they won’t face any legal blowback for the theft, and even described the heist as “very helpful.”

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