Cryptocurrency market maker Wintermute loses $160M in DeFi hack

Justin Sun’s Poloniex exchange hit for over $100M in exploit

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More than $100 million in digital assets were taken from a wallet belonging to the cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex in what security firms said was a massive hack earlier this morning.

Millions of crypto assets were transferred from an account labeled “Poloniex 4,” as seen on the Etherescan blockchain explorer. Losses were initially estimated at about $60 million but later determined to exceed $125 million as the numbers mounted. The assets taken included Ethereum, Tron, the stablecoins USDT and TUSD, as well as several other tokens. Data collected by Arkham Intelligence revealed that over 865 bitcoins were also taken.

The suspected hack was noted by the blockchain security firms PeckShield Inc. and Cyvers Ltd. shortly after 2:55 a.m. PST when the transfers began. Soon after the warning, Poloniex froze its wallet and told customers in a post on X, formerly Twitter, “Our wallet has been disabled for maintenance. We will update this thread once the wallet has been re-enabled.”

Poloniex launched as a centralized crypto exchange for buying and selling crypto in 2014 and was acquired by cryptocurrency entrepreneur and founder of the Tron cryptocurrency Justin Sun in 2019.

“We are currently investigating the Poloniex hack incident,” Sun said. “Poloniex maintains a healthy financial position and will fully reimburse the affected funds. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities for collaboration with other exchanges to facilitate the recovery of these funds.”

Sun also offered a 5% “white hat bounty” to the hacker to return the funds within seven days before the services of law enforcement are engaged. A white hat bounty is essentially a cash prize provided to a hacker when they have successfully reported a vulnerability or bug in their system. In the crypto industry, this is often used to entice a hacker to return the stolen funds for a percentage reward.

Crypto exchanges are a common target for hackers who use exploits and vulnerabilities to drain crypto tokens from digital wallets. In 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange BitMart was hit for $150 million, lost more than $34 million in January 2022 and last November the crypto derivatives exchange Derbit halted withdrawals after losing $28 million.

Image: Pixabay

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