There have been close to zero scenarios where the thieves return the stolen goods willingly. But there has been an incident where hackers return stolen cryptocurrency back to the people from whom it had been stolen. They had stolen cryptocurrency which was worth about $600 million and is reported to have returned almost half of it.
The hackers made use of a vulnerability in the Poly network to steal the cryptocurrency. Poly network connects various blockchains so that they can function together. By hacking, they managed to find the cryptocurrency and steal it. But after some time, the hackers themselves returned it. Poly reported that they received a message from the hackers that they were “ready to return” the stolen funds. Even though about $258 million has been returned, Poly is not sure of what will happen to the rest of the amount.
The reason for the ‘return’ has not been clarified. Most people think that it is because of the difficulty in offloading cryptocurrency. Tom Robinson, chief scientist of blockchain analytics firm Elliptic told CNBC that this might be because of the difficulty of cashing the cryptocurrency. He said, “I think this demonstrates that even if you can steal cryptoassets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the use of blockchain analytics. In this case the hacker concluded that the safest option was just to return the stolen assets.”