Lykke exchange hacked for over $23 million

The UK-based Lykke crypto exchange suffered an exploit that saw more than $23.6 million stolen from the platform. The platform shut down trading two days later, and some customers reported seeing balances of 0 in their accounts.

The theft was first noticed by outside researchers, who saw the suspicious outflows and accused the platform of not communicating the security breach to its customers. The following day, Lykke acknowledged the attack and informed customers via email.

DOJ indicts Epoch Times executive for crypto scam

Widong "Bill" Guan, Chief Financial Officer of the far-right Epoch Times media company, has been indicted on money laundering conspiracy and bank fraud charges for his alleged involvement in a cryptocurrency scam and money laundering operation. According to the Justice Department, Guan used cryptocurrency to purchase prepaid debit cards that were loaded with fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits. Guan and others then laundered the funds through bank accounts they'd fraudulently opened using stolen personal information.

According to the DOJ, banks became suspicious when the revenue for the Epoch Times increased 410% — from around $15 million to around $62 million — from the previous year.

Velocore decentralized exchange exploited for $6.8 million, Linea blockchain halts in response

The Velocore DEX, built on the Linea Ethereum layer-2 blockchain, was exploited for around $6.8 million in ETH. The hacker was able to take advantage of a bug in the project's smart contract in the logic to calculate swap fees. Using a flash loan attack funded through Tornado Cash, the attacker drained most of the tokens from the pool, bridged the tokens back to the Ethereum mainnet, and then tumbled the stolen funds back through Tornado.

In an unusual move, the operators of the Linea layer-2 blockchain chose to unilaterally halt the chain in order to stop the outflow of stolen assets. Because Linea — like many layer-2 chains — is highly centralized, it was possible for the Linea team to unilaterally stop the production of blocks.

This was very controversial, as a single operator being able to unilaterally control the operation of a blockchain goes against much of the cryptocurrency ethos. Following their action, they tried to explain that "Linea's goal is to decentralize our network - including the sequencer. When our network matures to a decentralized, censorship-resistant environment, Linea's team will no longer have the ability to halt block production and censor addresses - this is a primary goal of our network".

Japanese crypto exchange DMM Bitcoin loses $308 million

A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange called DMM Bitcoin has announced that they suffered an "unauthorized leak" of 4,502.9 bitcoin (~$308 million) from a company wallet. They've provided very little in additional details around how the loss occurred, or who may have been involved. They have taken some of their services offline as they investigate the incident.

The company claims it will replace the lost funds with help from other companies in their group.

This is one of the largest cryptocurrency thefts in recent history, rivaling the roughly $320 million theft from the Wormhole bridge in February 2022 and the $477 million theft from FTX in November 2022.

FTX executive Ryan Salame sentenced to 7.5 years imprisonment

Ryan SalameRyan Salame (attribution)
Ryan Salame was the CEO of FTX Digital Markets which was the Bahamian portion of the FTX business. In September 2023, just before Sam Bankman-Fried's trial began, Salame pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions and defraud the Federal Election Commission. He was the only co-conspirator of four to not plead under a cooperation agreement, and he did not testify at Bankman-Fried's trial.

In his sentencing memo, Salame asked for a sentence of no more than 18 months imprisonment, claiming that "he was duped, as was everyone else, into believing that the companies were legitimate, solvent, and wildly profitable." Judge Kaplan didn't seem to agree, ultimately passing down a sentence greater than the five to seven years requested by prosecutors. He also will pay $6 million in forfeiture, $5 million in restitution, and spend three years on supervised release.

Salame is the first of Bankman-Fried's co-conspirators to be sentenced.

Memecoin team accused of hacking influencer Twitter account to manipulate markets

According to crypto sleuth zachxbt, the team behind the Solana-based $CAT memecoin hacked the Twitter account of "Gigantic-Cassocked-Rebirth" (@GCRClassic) crypto influencer.

First, the team sniped their own $CAT token launch to obtain 63% of the token supply, ultimately selling a portion of it for around $5 million. Then, they took out $2.3 million and $1 million long positions on the ORDI and ETHFI tokens, respectively. Finally, they posted from the compromised influencer account to shill the ORDI and ETHFI tokens to his massive following. Ultimately, their gambit doesn't appear to have been incredibly successful: they made around $34,000 on the ORDI position, but lost $3,500 on the ETHFI position. However, as zachxbt noted, it's possible they also opened positions on centralized exchanges where the outcomes aren't publicly visible.

"Normie" memecoin plummets 99% after exploit

An attacker perpetrated a flash loan attack on the "Normie" memecoin on the Base layer-2 blockchain to drain millions of NORMIE tokens. The vulnerability was evidently discovered in March, but never patched.

Although the token claimed to have a market cap of $42 million, the attacker was only able to cash out around 224 wETH (~$882,000). However, the losses to some holders of the token were much more substantial. One individual had put around $1.16 million into $NORMIE, and those holdings are now priced at around $150.

The attacker has been negotiating the possible return of funds to the project team, who has expressed interest in relaunching the token.

Caitlyn Jenner launches memecoin amid deepfake confusion

Tweet by Caitlyn Jenner: "make america great again!!! 🇺🇸 and we love crypto! @pumpdotfun 🫡" with a photo of Jenner grasping hands with Donald TrumpJenner's launch tweet (attribution)
Olympic athlete-turned-Trumpworld media personality Caitlyn Jenner has confused many by apparently launching a memecoin on and heavily promoting it on her Twitter account with more than 3 million followers. Her original post featured a photo of her grasping hands with Donald Trump, with the text "make america great again!!! 🇺🇸 and we love crypto!".

At first, people widely believed her account had been hacked, given how frequently celebrity token promotions turn out to be compromised Twitter accounts. Then, she began joining Twitter spaces and posting videos about the token, but with the emergence of more and more convincing deepfakes, even those didn't convince people that it was truly Jenner behind the token.

Despite the confusion — or perhaps because of it — the token has been popular.

The token launch was linked to Sahil Arora, a person allegedly connected to multiple celebrity rug pulls and pump-and-dumps. However, Jenner quickly turned on Arora shortly after the token's launch, posting on Twitter "FUCK SAHIL! He scammed us! BIG TIME!" and that "Sahil appears to be fully out".

Jenner is not the first in her family to get mixed up with crypto. In October 2023, her stepdaughter Kim Kardashian was fined over $1 million for unlawful touting of a crypto security.

Gala Games suffers $21 million hack

Someone was able to mint 5 billion $GALA tokens, the native token of the Gala Games blockchain gaming project. The tokens would be notionally worth around $200 million based on their paper value, although such a massive amount wouldn't be sellable without impacting the token price. Furthermore, the Gala Games team was able to add the attacker's address to a blocklist shortly after the theft a few hours after the attack began, preventing them from swapping more of the tokens.

Altogether, the attacker was able to swap around $21 million of the GALA tokens into ETH before the address was frozen.

The attacker was able to perform the exploit because they had access to a wallet with admin access to the Gala Games smart contract. It's not clear if the attacker is a rogue employee, or if an admin wallet was compromised.

As of writing, Gala Games has not publicly acknowledged the attack.

Crypto scam money launderers charged for laundering more than $73 million through Deltec

Two people were charged in California for laundering money obtained from cryptocurrency and fiat "pig butchering" scams. After receiving the money from the investment scammers, the launderers then allegedly helped to obfuscate at least $73 million in transactions by moving the money through Deltec Bank in The Bahamas and converting it into the Tether stablecoin.

Deltec is a well-known bank in the cryptocurrency world, mostly for its ties to Tether and to FTX. In July 2023, US authorities seized tens of millions from Deltec accounts in connection to a cryptocurrency money laundering investigation. It's not clear if that was the same investigation.

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