Binance Offers $250,000 Bounty For Information Leading To Hackers’ Arrest

  • Binance is offering $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of hackers who attacked it last week
  • The bounty will be paid in its BNB token, and may be split if multiple sources are used
  • Bounties aren't new to the bitcoin ecosystem. Currently available bounties include one for 37 BTC for information on hacker who hacked Satoshi Nakamoto

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance is offering the equivalent of $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for an attack on its platform last week. The attack, as reported, was only stopped by the exchange’s security systems.

Last week Binance managed to thwart a ‘large scale’ theft attempt, in which it managed to withhold hackers’ funds. Now, the company decided to ‘play offense’ and offer a reward for information that leads to the criminals’ legal arrest.

The security incident saw hackers create API keys for phished users, so they could then pump Viacoin with the victims’ funds and sell the little-known cryptocurrency at a premium in the VIA/BTC trading pair. The irregular trading activity triggered Binance’s security systems, which halted withdrawals.

Binance’s $250,000 bounty will be paid in its Binance Coin (BNB), a token used at the exchange. Those who wish to collect the bounty will have to send the information they have to the exchange, and to their local law enforcement agencies. If local laws allow, the bounty hunters will be able to remain anonymous.

Justifying its move, Binance wrote on Medium:

“To ensure a safe crypto community, we can’t simply play defense. We need to actively prevent any instances of hacking before they occur, as well as follow through after-the-fact.”

Binance

The company noted that if multiple data segments lead to the final arrest, the bounty may be split at Binance’s discretion. To widen its effort, it further revealed it allocated the equivalent of $10,000,000 in cryptocurrency reserves for future bounty awards. The Hong Kong-based exchange’s blog post further reveals it invited other cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses to follow suit.

Notably, bounties are nothing new in the bitcoin community. BitcoinBountyHunter.com currently has several bounties going. The biggest one, for 37 BTC (about $370,000), is being offered for information on the hacker that breached bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s email account, and claimed to send a SWAT team to bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney’s home.

Another 20 BTC (about $196,000) bounty is being offered for information on an extortionist who threatened the family of bitcoin angel investor Roger Ver. The website notably doesn’t encourage vigilantism, and reportedly only pays out bounties if the crime if reported to authorities.

Bitcoin Trading at $600 Premium in India as Potential Ban Looms

Bitcoin (BTC) is currently trading at a roughly $600 premium in India, according to the market price available on the rupee-based exchange BitBns.com.

At the time of writing, bitcoin trades for just under 8 lakh rupees, or 800,000 INR, which is nearly $11,500 - significantly more than the going dollar price of $10,860.

This extreme price premium can be attributed to the difficulty of buying crypto in the country. As of last year, all regulated Indian banks and financial institutions have been banned from transacting in, and offering services related to crypto.

But the environment could soon become even more hostile.

CryptoGlobe reported in late April that a government working group made up of Indian tax, consumer protection, and general economic ministries had recommended a complete ban on even transacting or owning cryptoassets, much less integrating them into the mainstream, legal economy.

Bitcoin Demand Strong in India?

BitBns, one of the few operational rupee-denominated exchanges remaining, has apparently been able to skirt the increasingly draconian environment by allowing users to conduct their own P2P market, facilitated by the website, in order to buy and sell in Indian rupees. Other popular Indian exchanges, like Coindelta, have been forced to shut down.

The high premium may suggest a healthy demand in India for bitcoin and other cryptoassets, as Indians without international banking connections are forced to use the local currency to buy crypto. Data from crypto analytics website Coin.dance show that another popular crypto-fiat P2P platform, LocalBitcoins, has seen a sharp uptick in Indian trading volume since March-April.

indialocalbitcoins.png(source: Coin.dance)

CryptoGlobe reported last month that volumes were not affected by, and even increased in spite of, the threat of a crypto ban.

Indian Government Measures

One recent instance in particular shows just how far the Indian government seems to be going to control the Indian economy.

In late 2016, the national government suddenly and without warning even to its own ministries, declared that all 500- and 1,000-rupee banknotes currently in circulation were null and void - in an action that is known in India as “Demonetization.” These notes represented more than half of the physical money then in circulation in the country.

While the stated aims of the action were to root out corruption and “black money” from the economy, Demonetization has often been panned as a disastrous failure that cost 1% of the country’s GDP, a loss of 1.5 million jobs, and hurt the poor most of all.