Optimism Losses 20 Million OP Tokens to Hackers as Wintermute Gave Wrong Address

UTC by Ibukun Ogundare · 3 min read
Optimism Losses 20 Million OP Tokens to Hackers as Wintermute Gave Wrong Address
Photo: Depositphotos

Wintermute warned that hacker(s) have a week to consider being a whitehat. The crypto market marker threatened to track all responsible for the hack after the one-week grace period.

A mysterious hacker has carted away 20 million stolen Optimism (OP) tokens due to an accidental transfer between Wintermute and Optimism. On June 9th, Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution Optimism explained how its token launch partner. Meanwhile, Optimism conducted two test transactions to Wintermute before sending the 20 million OP tokens. Despite that both transactions were confirmed, an error was discovered after Optimism sent the actual funds. The error occurred when Wintermute provided the wrong blockchain address to the Optimism team. Unfortunately, the hacker made away with all, and Wintermute acknowledged that the team made “a serious error.”

Optimism and Wintermute in Dilemma

OP tokens are the native tokens of the Optimism Collective DAO. DAOs use governance tokens like such to allow members collectively vote on decisions. The 20 million OP tokens were to be distributed to Optimism Collective Stakeholders. The tokens were going to aid the princess of the token launch. Shortly after the hackers sold one million of the OP tokens for ETH, they went mute, and no one knew anything about the 19 million tokens. On Wednesday, the attacker forwarded an additional one million tokens to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The concluding 18 million is currently in the hacker’s wallet.

Wintermute addressed the situation in a June 9th blog post, hoping the hack was a “whitehat exploit.” If so, there is a high chance that the remaining funds are recoverable. Speaking to the Optimism community, the team added:

“We want to make one thing clear – the initial error is 100% Wintermute’s fault and as such we will process to buy OP everytime the attacker sells it to make the protocol whole eventually (we did initiate buying the first million OP tokens yesterday already). We understand that it can potentially create price volatility in the token and will make best efforts to smoothen the effect.”

Wintermute Warns Hacker(s)

Further into the blog post, Wintermute warned that hacker(s) have a week to consider being a whitehat. The crypto market marker threatened to track all responsible for the hack after the one-week grace period. Wintermute promises to dox the thief and hand them over to the appropriate juridical system when apprehended.

The crypto market maker further threatened:

“Remember that robbers need to get lucky every time. Cops only have to get lucky once. This is not a “code is law” theoretical argument. This is you taking a bag with cash that was left behind by a (careless) person. Us being careless still leaves you a criminal. We already started investigating the potential leads, in certain cases stopping short of informing respective law enforcement agencies.”

Wintermute said it has started investigating the potential leads.

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Ibukun Ogundare

Ibukun is a crypto/finance writer interested in passing relevant information, using non-complex words to reach all kinds of audience. Apart from writing, she likes to see movies, cook, and explore restaurants in the city of Lagos, where she resides.

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