Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction:
Yesterday, “hackers perpetrated what is likely the biggest theft ever in the world of decentralized finance, stealing about $600 million in cryptocurrency from a protocol known as PolyNetwork that lets users swap tokens across multiple blockchains.” There was not much that PolyNetwork could do except asking the hacker nicely to give the money back. So that’s what it did. – Matt Levine
Tom Robinson, chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic has an interesting take on the story
: “I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal crypto-assets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics. In this case, the hacker concluded that the safest option was just to return the stolen assets.”
That is an often overlooked point for crypto: When it comes to the web (and bank transactions, for that matter), platform metrics are kept inside of proprietary databases and Google Analytics. But in crypto, they are viewable and inspectable in real-time, on-chain, and understandable via solutions like Dune Analytics
that can give the data meaning. This means that it’s hard to hide, even if you are anonymous.