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$268 million worth of tokens are still outstanding

$268 million worth of tokens are still outstanding

$268 million worth of tokens are still outstanding

LONDON, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Hackers behind one of the biggest ever digital coin heists have now returned over half of the $610 million-plus they stole, the cryptocurrency platform targeted by the hack said on Thursday.

Poly Network, a platform that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions, said on Twitter that, as of 0818 GMT, hackers had returned $342 million of the currencies stolen.

Some $268 million worth of tokens are still outstanding, it said.

Poly Network, which allows users to transfer or swap tokens across different blockchains, said on Tuesday it had been hit by the cyberheists, urging the culprits to return the stolen funds.

The theft illustrated the risks of the mostly unregulated decentralised finance (DeFi) sector. DeFi platforms allow users to conduct transactions, usually in cryptocurrency, without traditional gatekeepers such as banks or exchanges.

The Poly Network hacker or hackers, who have not been identified, started returning the stolen coins on Wednesday. Blockchain analysts said they might have found it too difficult to launder stolen cryptocurrency on such a scale.

In fact, the $7.3 billion China Telecom is set to raise is the biggest mainland listing in a decade. And it’s ringing all the right bells, with the institutional tranche of the deal 24 times oversubscribed and the retail portion even more so, industry publication IFR reports. The fresh funds will help finance development of its 5G internet and cloud infrastructure offerings, among other projects.

Some juicy enticements, unveiled in June, added to the appeal. First, China Telecom will increase its dividend to 60% of profit for 2021 and will increase that to 70% within three years; the payout currently stands at roughly 40%. Second, the company has made a so-called stabilisation pledge. This requires either the controlling shareholder or the company itself to buy shares if they trade below an audited net asset value per share for a set period.

That sets an effective floor under the price and partially explains why the shares can be offered in Shanghai at 17 times estimated 2021 earnings, almost double their value in Hong Kong. China’s capital controls and the lack of fungibility between onshore and offshore shares are other reasons for the valuation gap.

Mainland regulators are keen to promote better financial management among listed companies. If homecoming champions increase their dividends, that may well encourage others to pay out spare funds, too. China Mobile (0941.HK), which was also kicked off the NYSE, is in the mainland listing queue and has a $59 billion net cash pile.

Washington appears to have done China Telecom a favour in evicting it from New York. Investors may be wishing the U.S. government had targeted even more companies.

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Poly Network emailed Reuters a copy of its tweet in response to a request for further details of the latest return.

It did not immediately respond to questions on where it is based, or whether any law enforcement agency was involved. According to the crypto website CoinDesk, Poly Network was launched by the founders of the Chinese blockchain project Neo.

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