Barely one week after a 51% attack on the Ethereum Classic blockchain, the attacker has strangely returned part of the stolen funds to Gate.io, according to a recent article posted by the crypto exchange.
The attack was carried on Jan 7, 2019, and researchers at Gate.io stated that the attacker transferred a total of 54,200 ETC, approx $250,816.191 at press time. Gate.io also provided three ETC wallet addresses supposedly used by the hacker while advising other crypto exchanges to block any transaction from the addresses.
Gate.io, who promised to compensate its customers for their loses, has reported today that they received $100k worth of ETC from the attacker on Jan 10. However, they do not know the reason for the refund neither have they heard from him.
“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,” Gate.io said.
Possible Reason for the Refund
According to Gate.io, if the attacker doesn’t try to take the profit, then it is possible that he is a white hacker who just wanted to draw the attention of people to the underlying risks in “blockchain consensus and hashing power security.”
This could be true as Gate.io’s researchers believe that the “hashing power” of ETC blockchain is not as strong as it should be and hackers could easily rent hashing power for another 51% attack.
However, the exchange has increased the number of ETC confirmation from 500 to 4000 as a way of improving its 51% security mechanism against future attacks.
As previously reported, US-based crypto exchange Coinbase had a different story, stating that it found 88,500 ETC ($410k at press time) in double spending and chain organization. ETC, however, denies saying that it was a 51% attack and no double spend has been detected.