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.

"Crypto King" Aiden Pleterski arrested

Aidan Pleterski and a woman with her face blurred stand in front of a lime green Lamborghini in what appears to be an upscale suburbAiden Pleterski (attribution)
Aiden Pleterski, a 25-year-old who goes by "Crypto King", has finally been arrested and charged with fraud and money laundering. In 2022, he was sued by a group of investors who have lost at least CA$41.5 million (~US$30.5 million) they entrusted to him to invest on their behalf. He had promised massive profits, and told them that any losses on their initial investments would be repaid in full. A judge froze his assets in July 2022, and the court ordered him and his company into bankruptcy the following month. The bankruptcy proceedings have so far recovered around CA$3 million (US$2.2 million).

Investigators for the bankruptcy proceedings found that Pleterski had invested less than 2% of customer funds. Around $16 million instead went to personal expenses, including luxury cars, a $45,000-a-month lakefront mansion, private jets, and vacations.

Even after being sued, filing for bankruptcy, and being kidnapped and beaten by angry investors, Pleterski flaunted his supposed wealth online. Much to the indignation of the creditors in his bankruptcy, he has continued to regularly livestream himself gambling for hours, spending $150,000 on Legos, and driving luxury cars.

Pleterski was released the same day he was arrested, thanks to a CA$100,000 (~US$75,000) surety bond posted by his parents. suffers $2 million loss to former employee who claims he wanted to "kill" the project for "inadvertently hurt[ing] people" is a Solana-based memecoin generator that soared to popularity recently amid a resurgence in memecoin trading. On May 16, the project suffered a $2 million exploit by an attacker who then began airdropping the money to somewhat random wallets.

A former employee — whose real identity is known — brazenly took credit for the theft on Twitter. They wrote: "everybody be cool, this is a r o b b e r y. ... I'm about to change the course of history. n then rot in jail. am I sane? nah. am I well? v much not. do I want for anything? my mom raised from the dead n barring that: life without parole."

In a Twitter Spaces chat, the attacker stated that he had worked for the company briefly, and that he had grievances against its management. "I just kind of wanted to kill because it's something to do... It's inadvertently hurt people for a long time," he said. paused trading shortly after the attack, and stated that they were "cooperating with relevant parties, including law enforcement, to minimize the damage." The attacker responded to the post: "Neener neener neener".

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