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EMAILED ON February 9, 2018 BY Conor Grant

Coin developers are offering massive rewards to blockchain bounty hunters

The crypto market isn’t doing so hot. But a bubble isn’t the only threat to coin wallets: the bubble has spawned a whole new category of cybercrime.

High-profile thefts — like the recent Coincheck heist, where bandits made off with $534m in a matter of seconds — have prompted the SEC to admit they don’t have any regulatory power to rein in crypto-thieves.

So, what do you do when you lose all of your crypto-cash to thieves?

One option: hire a crypto bounty hunter

In the crevices of the internet, victims of crypto-heists post desperate bounties for their hackers.

These bounties, naturally listed in coin value, often reach into 6-figure territory, and include descriptions of the theft and any information available (e.g. email transcripts, old web addresses, screenshots).

Most bounty sites include rules about turning in hackers, receiving payment, and participating in the community — and some feature leaderboards to honor the most prolific bounty hunters.

Cybersecurity is big business, and a number of startups make good money uncovering vulnerabilities by legally hacking big tech companies and government agencies (HackerOne recently inked a deal to hack the Pentagon, for instance). But the rewards for these jobs can’t hold a candle to the jackpot payouts that cryptocurrencies offer.

ICOs are likely to keep crypto bounty hunters in business

Small bounties require little programming knowledge and net minimal profits, but big security-breach bounties (posted on Reddit or other crypto forums) reward world-class bounty hunters with a percentage of the total amount of coins stolen, which can amount to $3.6m or more.

Since bigger thefts mean bigger rewards for bounty hunters, crypto-thieves are painting ever-larger targets on their backs.

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