The hackers behind one of the largest crypto-heists ever carried out have returned over one-third of the stolen assets to the original platform, in an unprecedented move.

On Twitter, Poly Network, the peer-to-peer trading platform at the centre of the incident, announced that the criminals had bizarrely returned $260m of the total amount procured back to the company, but that a whopping $353m in digital coins still has yet to see its way back into rightful hands.

Poly Network, which allows the trading of various different blockchain-based digital currencies had threatened the hacking group with strict legal action if the sum in its totality was not sent back, however, many viewed this as an exercise in futility due to the black hat collective’s relative anonymity, as well as the difficulty, if not impossibility, of tracing blockchain-based currency transfers to specific individuals.

According to some sources, the vulnerability that the hackers took advantage of may have been based around Poly Network’s digital contracts.

Elliptic co-founder, Tom Robinson, chimed in on why the criminals may have decided to return these assets, claiming it was likely due to the extreme difficulty of converting the assets to fiat while maintaining anonymity.

"Even if you can steal crypto assets, laundering them and cashing out is extremely difficult, due to the transparency of the blockchain and the broad use of blockchain analytics by financial institutions(...)"