Cryptocurrency investors have been transfixed over the past few days by the antics of a mysterious hacker who stole more than $600m — before gradually giving it back.
But was the thief a good samaritan who stole the money to expose a dangerous security flaw, or did they simply realise they were about to be caught?
The hacker struck Poly Network, a company that handles cryptocurrency transfers, on Tuesday in one of the biggest thefts of digital monies in history.
But by Thursday, the perpetrator had given back almost all of the stolen funds in a slow trickle of transactions.
In messages embedded in the transfers, the thief insisted the money had been stolen with good intentions.
“I am not very interested in money!” the hacker wrote, adding it was “always the plan” to return the funds.
Despite their volatility and concerns over the huge waste of electricity they generate, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have soared in popularity in recent years.