Bittrex would certainly have preferred not to have been involved in the war that is currently raging in the Steem community. Richie Lai, co-founder of the United States-based cryptocurrency exchange, made an announcement last week saying her company would return – reluctantly, it seems – to have millions of dollars in cryptocurrency on a controversial Steem portfolio that nobody knows who you control.
The stolen funds saved on Bittrex
After 23.6 million token steems were confiscated from community dissidents on a tit-for-tat Steem hard fork a few days ago, they were quickly diverted to Bittrex by an unknown individual (or individuals) in hope to be able to return them to their original 64 owners – all of whom are currently unwelcome to Steem's blockchain project.
The controversial treasure is worth a little over $ 5 million at press time and was priced at around $ 6.3 million at the time of the fork. "We want the entire Steem community to address legitimate concerns in a way that is considered fair by everyone," said Lai. "We believe in the sanctity of the blockchain and, as an industry, we must adhere to the blockchain consensus rules without interfering with our personal opinions," he continued.
A mysterious anonymous transaction
Steem's latest hard fork was the culmination of months of bitter struggles between those for and against the acquisition of Steemit by the Tron Foundation – the largest application on Steem – earlier this year.
After the anti-Tron faction split the network to create HIVE – an almost identical copy of Steem who copied and then confiscated tokens linked to Tron founder Justin Sun – the pro-Tron team got busy selling to Steem tokens belonging to 64 of the former witnesses – blockchain validators – and the parties involved in the creation of the group of HIVE dissidents.
The tokens were sent to the mysterious wallet known as community321 and were almost immediately sent to the Bittrex platform. A note on the transaction stated that the funds had been "stolen from Steem's witnesses" and asked Bittrex to "return them to the original owners please before the fork." Nobody knows who made the transaction (at least publicly), but apparently it was someone from the anti-Tron lobby.
Proof of ownership is required to get the funds back
In an interesting turn of the matter, Bittrex's procedure for returning token hackers is to first receive proof of ownership of the victim of the theft. "We must review the facts of this transfer in order to return these funds to the owner of the original portfolio, provided that the owner or owners of the portfolio can prove that the funds belong to them," Lai said in his notice.
In other words, anyone sitting behind the community wallet321 may have to declare themselves, at least to Bittrex. It might be interesting to see who will eventually come out. At the moment, the funds have not yet been returned.