- The dForce/Lendf.me hacker returned all the $25 million worth of crypto he stole
- Only once before have stolen funds been returned in full
- SpankChain, CoinDash, and Ethereum Classic were other notable incidents
The welcome return of $25 million worth of cryptocurrency from the dForce/Lendf.me hack this week was only the second known occasion in crypto history that the entirety of the proceeds of a hack have been returned. Alongside the other known occasion, there have been other notable incidents where hackers have given back some their ill-gotten gains, with some even getting rewarded for their trouble!
SpankChain – October 2018
Adult entertainment project SpankChain saw $40,000 worth of ETH stolen in October 2018, using the same ‘reentrancy’ bug that brought down dForce and the Ethereum DAO in 2016.
However, after amazingly managing to get the anonymous hacker on the phone, SpankChain CEO Ameen Soleimani negotiated the return of all the ETH, with the hacker sending Soleimani the private keys to the wallet where the stolen booty was sitting.
As payment, the hacker received $5,000 as a “reward” along with the 5.5 ETH he used as seed capital for the attack!
CoinDash – July 2017
The ICO for CoinDash was hijacked in July 2017 when a hacker managed to change the ETH address to which investors were asked to send funds midway through the token raise. $7.53 million worth of ETH found its way to the ICO before the hacker made the switch, earning himself $10.3 million (43,000 ETH) in the process.
Two months later however the hacker sent back 10,000 ETH following CoinDash reporting the incident to the Counter Cyber Terrorist Unit in Israel, where the project was based. Another 20,000 ETH were returned to the CoinDash wallet five months later in February 2018, leaving the hacker with 11,300 ETH, worth £2.1 million today.
Ethereum Classic – January 2019
Ethereum Classic was 51% attacked in early 2019, with the attackers walking off with $1.1 million in ETC. Efforts to identify, locate, or even contact the hacker were fruitless, so it was something of a shock when $100,000 worth were returned to exchange Gate.io just four days later.
No motive was ever established for the hacker’s actions, leaving Gate.io guessing:
“We still don’t know the reason. If the attacker didn’t run it for profit, he might be a white hacker who wanted to remind people the risks in blockchain consensus and hashing power security.”
Needles Among Haystacks
Given the amount of hacks that take place across the crypto space, it is no surprise to learn that the odds of money being recovered by any means are slim to non-existent. Still, it’s nice to know that somewhere out there are hackers with a conscience…of sorts.