Hackers perpetrated what is likely the biggest theft ever in the world of decentralised finance, stealing about $US600 million ($816 million) in cryptocurrency from a protocol known as PolyNetwork that lets users swap tokens across multiple blockchains.
Tens of thousands of people are affected by the hack, PolyNetwork said in a letter posted on Twitter. About $US33 million of the stablecoin Tether that was a part of the theft has been frozen by Tether’s issuer, making it unavailable to the attacker.
It isn’t clear from the PolyNetwork website who runs the protocol, which governs transactions that run on the application. DeFi, or decentralised finance has surged in popularity in the past few years in the wake of a boom in the development of applications that let people trade, borrow and lend funds to each other without intermediaries.
Security researcher SlowMist said it has found the attacker’s email, IP address and device fingerprints, the team reported on Twitter. It added that “this is likely to be a long-planned, organised and prepared attack.” Crypto exchanges including Binance are involved in helping PolyNetwork, Binance chief executive officer Changeng Zhao said on Twitter.