Hacker returns about $15 million to Optimism after sending Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin a chunk of the stolen funds

Hacker returns about $15 million to Optimism after sending Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin a chunk of the stolen funds

After stealing about $16 million worth of governance tokens (OP) from the Ethereum scaling solution Optimism, the hacker responsible for the heist returned most of the funds.

 

“Over the past few hours, the address opened a line of communication with Wintermute on-chain and 17mm of 20mm OP has now been returned,” Optimism tweeted on Friday. “We will continue to post updates as they come in … What a month.”

On Thursday, Optimism shared that an attack had happened after it aimed to send funds to liquidity provider Wintermute, but did so to the wrong wallet address. Once it realized what happened, Wintermute began a recovery operation, only to find that a hacker had already taken control of the funds. Wintermute then asked the hacker to return the funds promptly, threatening to fully doxx them and contact law enforcement if not.

Before returning about 17 million OP, or $15 million, to the platform, the hacker sent 1 million OP to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin with an on-chain message:

“Hello, Vitalik, I believe in you, just want to know your opinion on this. [By the way], help to verify the return address and I will return the remaining after you. And hello Wintermute, sorry, I only have 18M and this is what I can return. Stay Optimistic!”

Optimism tweeted that those funds are “being recovered.”

This is one of many situations where a hacker gives back stolen cryptocurrency after its victims plead for its return. In August, for example, hackers of decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Poly Network returned about half of the $610 million stolen in what was one of the biggest cryptocurrency heists. The hacker said their motivation was “fun” in an on-chain message, adding, “I know it hurts when people are attacked, but shouldn’t they learn something from those hacks?”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

Leave a comment