Hacker Who Initiated 51% Attack Against Ethereum Classic (ETC) Returns $100,000 of Stolen Assets

It has just come to light that the hacker behind the recent 51% attack against the Ethereum Classic blockchain has returned around USD 100k worth of tokens to the governing organization behind the top-20 altcoin.

This news was first published by crypto exchange ‘Gate.io’ on their official website a couple of days back.

More On The Case

As soon as word of this aforementioned development came to the forefront, the folks over at Gate.io tried to contact the hacker so as to find out his/her real motives behind this act. However, at press time, their attempts have yet to bear any fruit.

In relation to the matter, Gate.io’s core executive brass has not been able to decipher the exact motive behind this incident— thus leading many people to believe that this entire ordeal was an exercise to raise user awareness about the risks associated with the trading/security of crypto assets (especially those that make use of the Proof of Work protocol).

“On Jan.10, we found that the recent ETC 51% attacker returned 100k USD value of ETC back to Gate.io. We were trying to contact the attacker, but we haven’t got any reply until now. 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 of the risks in blockchain consensus and hashing power security.”

Other Key Details Worth Bearing In Mind

A couple of days back, a spokesperson for the Gate.io team took to the internet to state that “there is still some possibility of a similar attack taking place on the ETC ecosystem” in the near future, since it is still quite inexpensive to rent the necessary hash power to gain around 51% control over the currency’s native blockchain.

On the issue, Gate.io’s security team posted a message on ETC’s Twitter handle asking them to increase the “number of confirmations needed to admit a transaction” so as to ensure a higher degree of overall security.

“Based on our analysis, the hashing power of ETC network is still not strong enough, and it’s still possible to rent enough hashing power to launch another 51% attack. Gate.io has raised the ETC confirmation number to 4000 and launched a strict 51% detect for enhanced protection. We also suggest other ETC exchanges to take actions to protect the trader from blockchain rollback/reorg.”

Final Take

While some people have been saying that this entire episode was the doing of a white hat hacker, there are those within the crypto community who have taken a highly critical and skeptical stance towards the matter.

For example, eToro’s Mati Greenspan was quick to point out that the amount returned by the hacker was a “mere fraction” of what he/she had actually stolen (thus it is was silly to assume that this was simply a case of ethical hacking).

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