Earlier this month, over 50 million nxt were stolen from BTER. While much of the nxt has been reportedly returned in the course of negotiations with the hacker via “ransom payments” of bitcoins, he has reneged on the final 8.3 million nxt outstanding.
Jean-Laurent Tari of Crypto Finance Analysis (CFA) Consulting thinks they have a fair chance of tracking him down:
“I had lengthy talk with him, and got a chance to understand him fairly well. I received help from several people to try to identify him, and I am pleased to say we already have some promising ideas to pursue.”
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His nxt account and BTC receiving addresses are known. There is also additional information, to be made available for those willing to help in the investigation.
A lawyer and two forensic experts have been hired. Since the expenses will be considerable, donations are requested. A potential bounty is available for donors. The manhunt/bounty approach was one of the original 3 options considered earlier in the saga.
There has been much talk of or forensic analysis and even law enforcement investigations in many hackings in the past. Virtually none have borne fruit.
Even if the identity of perpetrators can be ascertained, there exists no 3rd party authority capable of enforcing the coins’ safe return. As such currencies are decentralized from authority, this is practically a rule by definition; the candle can’t be lit at both ends.
Earlier proposals of rolling back/forking the ledger carry a significant element of centralization, which caused much angst among some in the Vericoin community after their currency was stolen.