Hackers Pull Off $320 Million Cryptocurrency Heist

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A cryptocurrency platform in the decentralized finance space, or DeFi, has been exploited by hackers who siphoned $320 million in one of the most notable cryptocurrency heists to date.

Hackers managed to steal 120,000 wrapped ether (wETH) worth roughly $320 million from the Wormhole DeFi platform, the company announced in a tweet. According to blockchain details, 80,000 wETH was sent to the hackers in a single transaction.

Wormhole was developed by Certus One, and exists to bridge tokens between Solana, Ethereum, and other blockchains by locking them in a smart contract and minting “wrapped” tokens.

Given Wormholes tenure in the space, some Twitter users speculated that the attack may cause ripples throughout the DeFi ecosystem.

According to Wormhole, “ETH will be added over the next hours to ensure wETH is backed 1:1.” After the hack, Solana’s price took a dip even as Wormhole said it had patched the vulnerability.

Wormhole initially acknowledged a “potential exploit” on Twitter and said the service was “down for maintenance” while it was investigated.

In a message posted to the blockchain, an address possibly connected to Certus One offered the hackers a bounty of $10 million if they return the money.


The message was spotted by Tom Robinson, the chief scientist at blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, and the address it came from interacts regularly with Wormhole smart contracts.

“This is the Wormhole Deployer: We noticed you were able to exploit the Solana VAA verification and mint tokens,” the message read. “We’d like to offer you a whitehat agreement, and present you a bug bounty of $10 million for exploit details, and returning the wETH you’ve minted. You can reach out to us at contact@certus.one.”

Certus One and its parent company Jump Crypto did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Wormhole heist is another blow for the DeFi ecosystem, which acts as a subset of the cryptocurrency industry focused on complex forms of investing, including “staking” and “liquidity farming”. Wormhole and others are key parts of this emerging ecosystem, and have become common targets for hackers.

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