Money for nothing: the true story of the world’s biggest ever crypto heist

An online thief made history recently by stealing $610 million in cryptocurrency. Then they gave half of it back. Why?

One of the biggest heists in history didn’t involve retired gangsters and an East End jewellers. It didn’t involve suave European criminals, high speed cars and credit card fraud. And it certainly didn’t involve ski masks and sawn off shotguns.

No, in 2021, crime is smarter. Hacking has been in the news a lot in recent years, mostly with fingers pointed at China or Russia, alleging their hackers have interfered in Western politics. But, it seems, not every hacker has malicious intent.

Fans of the Michael Mann film Black Hat (and while we’re on the subject of robbery, why not give Heat a re-watch?) will know that in the world of hacking, there are ‘Black Hats’ who cause damage, and ‘White Hats’ who hack supposedly to point out a flaw in a company’s system. The hacker who last week got away with around $610 million in one of the largest cryptocurrency heists ever reportedly identifies as the latter.

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