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Hackers steal $320 million worth of crypto from DeFi platform Wormhole

Wormhole has offered a bounty worth $10 million to hackers to return the funds.

bitcoin, bitcoin value, bitcoin price, china bitcoin news, china bitcoin crackdownA representation of the virtual cryptocurrency Bitcoin is seen in this picture illustration taken June 14, 2021. (REUTERS)

Hackers have stolen nearly $320 million in cryptocurrency from a decentralised finance (DeFi) platform Wormhole Portal. The DeFi platform is a bridge between  cryptocurrency Solana (SOL) and other blockchains, was exploited for approximately 120,000 wrapped Ethereum.

It should be noted that this is the fourth-largest crypto heist on record of all times. Wormhole has offered a bounty worth $10 million to hackers to return the funds. “The wormhole network was exploited for 120k wETH. ETH will be added over the next hours to ensure wETH is backed 1:1. More details to come shortly. We are working to get the network back up quickly. Thanks for your patience,” Wormhole said in a recent tweet.

For the uninitiated, DeFi is an alternative finance ecosystem where consumers transfer, trade, borrow and lend cryptocurrency, independently of traditional financial institutions and the regulatory structures that have been built around banking. The DeFi movement aims to “disintermediate” finance, using computer code to eliminate the need for trust and middlemen from transactions.

DeFi sector has seen a jump in theft and scams during the past 12 months. In January 2022, DeFi company Qubit Finance was attacked, and the network suffered a loss of nearly $80 million.

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DeFi transaction volume spiked to 912 per cent in 2021, according to Chainalysis stats. “DeFi is one of the most exciting areas of the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem, presenting huge opportunities to entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency users alike,” Chainalysis wrote in its annual Crypto Crime report. “But DeFi is unlikely to realize its full potential if the same decentralization that makes it so dynamic also allows for widespread scamming and theft.”

As of early 2022, Chainalysis said illicit address already hold over $10 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, with the majority of this held by wallets associated with cryptocurrency theft. Hackers have targeted DeFis the most in 2021, in yet another warning for those dabbling in this emerging segment of the crypto industry. “DeFi is one of the most exciting areas of the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem, presenting huge opportunities to entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency users alike,” Chainalysis wrote in its annual Crypto Crime report.

First published on: 05-02-2022 at 12:51 IST
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