Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has followed through with its pledge to reward anyone helping bring about the arrest of the bad actors who attacked the exchange in March 2018 and stole from users in a phishing campaign.
Over a period of months, unknown persons set up phishing websites that mimicked Binance's own, and collected users' login details to attempt to access accounts and breach the platform.
The exchange announced Wednesday that it has now awarded a bounty of $200,000 to private investigators, whom it did not identify, for providing a report identifying one of the alleged attackers and providing information on how the attack was carried out.
Binance made the decision to hand over the promised bounty after two individuals said to be responsible for the phishing attempt were charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in February, and also sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in September.
The security team at Binance had passed on the investigators' findings to U.S. law enforcement, along with "other information and indicators," the exchange said. It also work with U.S. agencies to help identify the suspects.
The DoJ and OFAC named Danil Potekhin and Dimitrii Kamasavidi, both from Russia, as the alleged perpetrators of the phishing campaign. Further, the Justice Department accuses both of also having carried out similar attacks on the Bittrex, Poloniex and Gemini cryptocurrency exchanges resulting in combined losses of $17 million.
A direct attack on Binance by the attackers saw no losses from the exchange, according to a blog post at the time.
Binance further said it would award the private investigators another $50,000 once the attackers have been placed in custody.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.