Nxt appears to have gained the upper hand in what has shaped up to be dramatic battle of wits against a hacker who stole 51,670,000 units of the cryptocurrency off of BTER.
At the time of the hacking, Nxt was trading for approximately 0.066m BTC. Based on the BTC/USD exchange rate of roughly $500, this makes for a total haul theoretically worth $1.66 million.
Originally, a rollback of the nxt ledger to a state prior to the theft was strongly considered, although met with resistance. Later, however, BTER tweeted:
We have decided not to rollback but get the stolen funds back from the hacker since we have got lots of information of him.
— Bter.com Exchange (@btercom) August 15, 2014
The hacker sent a ransom message through the Blockchain, demanding bitcoins in exchange for the stolen nxt. BTER negotiated and sent 10 BTC in exchange for five million nxt. The hacker then became impatient- and hostile:
“So, what taking so long? Send me the next batch already. I’m going to leave soon. It’s already 2 hours of negotiation, it took me 1 hour to clean your whole exchanger. BTC 500+ I’m not going to sit here, and wait 2 more hours for you to decide to send the lousy 10 BTC.”
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BTER sent another 100 BTC for the remaining Nxt but received nothing in return as the hacker went silent. 3 options were on the table: offer more BTC to the hacker, a 310 BTC bounty for hunting him down, or implement a fork/rollback.
Several hours ago, there were reports of more nxt being returned to BTER.
The convoluted series of events, including the hacker’s willingness to negotiate after the decision not to fork, have led some to speculate that it was an inside job.
Altcoins have become a prime target for mass theft or hacking. One month ago, almost $2 million worth of vericoin was stolen off MintPal. A hard fork was implemented, a controversial decision at the time which in a sense, centralized the coin’s authority.
Earlier this year, over 500 million dogecoins were maliciously mined, which, at the peak in Dogecoin prices, would have been worth as much as $1 million.
In the case of vericoin, nearly one third of all coins were taken. In our case, the amount represents about 5% of the Nxt in existence. Even if the proportion wouldn’t have been too much to swallow, Nxt is fortunate to have had other strategies at its disposal.
Nxt initially plummeted by 22% when the news first came to light, but has since clawed back most of its losses as the recovery efforts bore fruit.