Resolved: Exploiter Returns 17 Million Stolen Optimism Tokens

The hacker that stole 20 million OP tokens from Optimism has now returned the vast majority of his ill-begotten funds. Public blockchain data shows that he’s made 17 transfers of 1 million OP each to the Optimism contract address.

According to Etherscan, all 17 transfers of OP were made in short order. The first was at 12:09 pm UTC, with the last at 12:31 pm UTC on Friday.
The returned funds do not represent all tokens that the attacker stole, however. He is still 3 million OP short of the 20 million he nabbed during Optimism’s failed transaction to Wintermute.
Wintermute – a cryptocurrency market maker – was supposed to provide liquidity provisioning services for the newly airdropped OP token. The token provides participation rights to members of the layer 2 protocol’s two-tier governance structure.
However, a complication occurred in which Optimism sent the funds from its layer-2 address to Wintermute’s layer 1 address. This led to the funds being locked away from either party.
An opportunistic attacker stole the coins shortly after and sold off about 1 million tokens in short order. Interestingly, he then sent about 1 million tokens to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and delegated voting rights for those tokens to Yoav Weiss of the Ethereum Foundation.
The next day, the anonymous thief sent another 1 million OP to Vitalik and offered the developer his respect. He then asked for advice on what to do with the tokens, feeling sorry about the theft.
He claimed to only have 18 million tokens remaining which he could return. So far he’s returned 17 million, with 1 million still on his address balance.

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