Hong Kong-based Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is offering $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of the “pump and dump” hackers who appear to have infiltrated the exchange in early March.
Binance also allocated up to $10 million dollars to award informants in the event of future hacking attempts against the exchange.
All potential Binance hacker bounties will paid out in cryptocurrencies.
Binance is hoping that other cryptocurrency exchanges will follow suit with similar bounty initiatives to deter hacking and cyber theft attempts.
Dozens of Binance account holders reported via various social media websites that their accounts were hacked and co-opted by unknown persons on March 7.
The hackers reportedly waited for the right moment on that date to use compromised accounts to sell Viacoin, cash out in Bitcoin and then transfer those digital funds into clandestine accounts.
One Viacoin token was worth about $3 on the date of the hack.
According to Binance staff, the hacked customer accounts had to have been compromised before the hack to pull off such a well-coordinated theft.
Pump and dump
Binance believes the accounts were infiltrated via data phishing scams in January or February 2018. The hackers then calmly waited to cash in.
Binance said that all compromised account withdrawals were halted and all trades were reversed.
The company also said that the hackers lost money after the reversals of scam trades, though it did not provide proof.
The arrest of any unknown hackers may prove elusive.
Cryptocurrency exchange account holders are anonymous and identified by alphanumeric code tags. Cryptocurrency funds are virtually untraceable, a selling point for many speculators.
The hackers were undoubtedly attracted by the success of Binance. It is the largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume in the world with more than 4 million active customer accounts.