This story has evolved from initial theft to ransom, to the hacker not fulfilling their end of the ransom, to bidding wars, to the blockchain rollback being offered and then taken off the table. In the event full of twists and turns, the NXT community stands by and the cryptocurrency world watches as the latest hack unfolds.
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It started with the theft of 50 million NXT from the cryptocurrency exchange BTER. Developer Lin of BTER came forth with a statement right away after the story broke.
“This is the dev of BTER. I am really sorry for this. Several hours ago one of our hosting accounts was hacked and the hacker got 50m NXT from this server. It’s totally our fault and we are trying our best to cover all the loss. However 50 million NXT is huge for us, we cannot afford it at the moment.”
Afterwards, the hacker then sent a ransom message through the blockchain, offering the give up the stolen coins for bitcoins.
“We can trade these NXT for some bitcoins to make life easier for you, and me.”
BTER took the offer and negotiated a deal. They sent ten bitcoins; the hacker sent five million NXT back. Unfortunately, the hacker then became hostile and said the negotiations were taking too much time.
"So, what taking so long? Send me the next batch already. I'm going to leave soon. It's already 2 hours of negotiation, it took me 1 hour to clean your whole exchanger. BTC 500+ I'm not going to sit here, and wait 2 more hours for you to decide to send the lousy 10 BTC."
In a panic, BTER sent 100 bitcoins to the hacker in exchange for the rest of the NXT. The NXT still haven’t arrived, and BTER hasn’t made a statement on their actions yet. Once the community realized the rest of the NXT wasn't moving, a bidding war started among the NXT members offering more money for the coins to the now-silent hacker.
Tensions escalated, and the developers put the option of a roll back on the table. This move is not one that's often favored, as it was seen once before by VeriCoin developers when Mintpal was hacked. Patrick Nosker of VeriCoin commented on the NXT roll back decision, saying he does not believe their blockchain should be rolled back.
Now, according to David Pearce of NXT Marketing, that blockchain rollback option is off the table. He told CCN directly what the plans were, and they seem pretty simple.
“Looks like the NXT community has decided to not do a rollback. We're just going to man up and take the consequences.”
Bas Wisselink, a NXTforum admin and community member, also reached out to CCN with a lengthy statement regarding the decision. He would like it to be mentioned up front that he is not an official NXT spokesperson, but is a community member and stakeholder. His statement comes from that position, and he understands that many in the NXT community may disagree with him. Again, it is clear that he is not a NXT official spokesperson.
As you already know, our devs released an update that would adjust the blockchain in such a way that only the BTER account would be affected. As it stands, the majority of NXT forgers has opted not to support this fork. The new version has already been rescinded and the rollback will not happen.
Of course, this whole discussion strikes at the core of what a crypto platform is about. Is there a point where a blockchain can be rolled back, or not?
I understand that the Vericoin devs have decided to do this in their case, because 30% of coins were involved.
Our situation and proposed solution were very different. The main difference that I see is that our core devs have left the decision completely up to the forgers. They could have taken the decision to not even propose a fork at all, but decided to put this in the hand of where the decision power in a PoS system is: the stakeholders.
Personally, I believe that this is the only real course they could have taken and stay neutral. The discussion had already veered strongly in this direction, and at a certain point, a choice needs to be put up to the stakeholders. Had the discussion been clear, no choice would have been needed. But this is not an official statement, because we have no official speakers
This situation is terrible for all people who have lost their money. There is no way in which we can say otherwise. It's horrible, and no effort should be spared to hunt down the real culprit: the thief. I understand that BTER is on the case, and I hope they will succeed. This thief now has all of BTER's users on his tail.
I believe, however painful this is, it should never be the role of the infrastructure to get involved in questions about the use of it. Furthermore, the error here lies with BTER, and they have clearly stated so. The only ones who should have any control over what happens to the blockchain lies with the stakeholders. I believe the actions taken by the developers today reflect their belief in this model.
I have heard many people who lost funds today echo this, and I believe that this reflects how strongly the Nxt community believes and understands this principle. The last,word in this certainly has not been spoken, nor has the theft of funds been solved. However, the community has given a very strong signal about how they feel the blockchain should be treated.
I want to make clear that, seeing that Nxt does not have an official spokesman, my comments are made as a stakeholder and community member, not as speaking for Nxt as a whole. There are surely people who will disagree.
Just like that, NXT has decided to not roll back the blockchain and let the future events naturally unfold. The decision leaves the victims of the BTER hack to rely on BTER to make things right, but that’s no longer looking like an option. It seems as though the negotiations have failed with the hacker as he left this message last anyone heard.
“Deal is off. Good night.”
The sentiment unfortunately doesn’t leave much hope for the victims of the NXT community. CCN will continue to follow this story as it develops. Continue the conversation in our comment section or on our CCN Forums.
Last modified (UTC): August 15, 2014 10:48 PM