Hedgey Finance hacked for almost $45 million

Hedgey Finance, a platform used to manage token claims, lockups, and vesting, was hit with a flash loan attack that drained $44.7 million of customer funds from the platform.

The majority of assets were stolen from Hedgey on the Arbitrum layer-2 network, although around $2.1 million of them were stolen from the version deployed on the Ethereum mainnet.

Hedgey Finance confirmed the exploit, and sent an optimistic and congratulatory message on-chain: "Well done for finding it! We're assuming you executed this exploit as a white hat, so we'd like to get in touch with you to discuss next steps." No on-chain response thus far.

Hong Kong police arrest 72 people, freeze $29 million in connection to JPEX

Police in Hong Kong have arrested 72 people and frozen HK$228 million (~US$29 million) in connection to the collapse of the JPEX cryptocurrency exchange in September 2023. The South China Morning Post has described the collapse as the largest alleged fraud of its kind in Hong Kong.

According to Hong Kong police, they have received more than 2,600 complaints about JPEX, involving HK$1.6 billion (~US$204 million) in assets.

Avi Eisenberg convicted of $110 million Mango Markets heist

A jury found Avi Eisenberg guilty of fraud and market manipulation after he stole $110 million from the Mango Markets defi protocol in October 2022. Although he tried to argue that "code is law", and that his actions were legal as they were allowed by the project's smart contracts, jurors ultimately agreed with prosecutors that his manipulation of token prices constituted fraud.

Shortly after he was identified as the person behind the attack, Eisenberg tweeted that he "was involved with a team that operated a highly profitable trading strategy last week. I believe all of our actions were legal open market actions". Sadly for him, jurors didn't share this belief.

Eisenberg faces up to 20 years in prison.

Roger Stone endorses $TRUMP memecoin with misleading posts

Roger StoneRoger Stone (attribution)
Amid tweets alleging corruption among jurors in his 2019 criminal case, far-right activist and Trumpworld figure Roger Stone has posted several tweets endorsing "MAGA Memecoin", one of the many memecoins with the $TRUMP ticker. In several posts, he's suggested the token enjoys support from Trump himself, mentioning that the token is "the largest holding in Donald Trump's crypto wallet". "Donald Trump has at least $2M in @MAGAMemecoin in his crypto wallet - get yours- this cryptocurrency is going UP!", he wrote in another.

What he failed to mention is that the tokens in Trump's wallet were airdropped to him, likely without Trump even realizing it. Several of Trump's crypto wallets are publicly known, and people send coins and NFTs to them all the time. Trump has no more endorsed Stone's "MAGA Memecoin" than he has the "HarryPotterTrumpHomerSimpson777Inu" tokens that also sit in his crypto wallet.

Elsewhere, Stone disclosed, "My promotion of MAGAMemecoin is, of course, sponsored." I haven't been able to find where he has disclosed the amount he was paid for these promotions, as he is required to do.

$2 million emptied from Grand Base real world asset platform

Grand Base, a real world assets platform built on the Base layer-2 blockchain, has seen $2 million exit the platform in a hack or rug pull.

The team behind the project claimed that the deployer wallet had been compromised, allowing an attacker to drain the project's liquidity pool. Altogether, 615 ETH (~$2 million) was taken from the project.

Grand Base is a platform where users can trade "gAssets", which are crypto tokens that represent stocks in tech companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft.

tea.xyz causes open source software spam problems, again

The tea.xyz protocol first earned an entry on Web3 is Going Just Great in late February, when their plan to reward open source software contributors resulted in crypto enthusiasts with no intention of participating in OSS opening endless pull requests to claim ownership of prominent OSS projects. This spam was disruptive to said projects, whose (usually volunteer) maintainers had to figure out what was going on and then try to stop the spammy PRs.

Max Howell, the creator of tea.xyz (and creator of homebrew, though he's no longer involved), seemed apologetic, and promised to make changes to the protocol to stop this spammy behavior.

Now, deprived of that avenue, people are just creating massive waves of empty software packages, with nothing other than a "teafile" with their crypto wallet address for rewards, and submitting them to package managers like NPM and RubyGems.

This spam prompted a blog post from RubyGems, who wrote that they had to devote time to strengthening limits on package publishing and "ensuring [accounts] didn't disrupt the community further."

Security researchers at Phylum also wrote up the protocol's impact on the JavaScript world, which has seen as many as 7x as many packages published on NPM as previous daily averages. "Automated sustained spamming of this volume for months on end is rare and does nothing but cause heavy strain on the ecosystem itself, degrading the performance of the ecosystem for genuine users and straining open source security researchers," they wrote.

$26 million liquidated in surprise Pac Finance smart contract change

Pac Finance, a fork of the Aave lending protocol deployed on the Blast blockchain, surprised some of its users as an unannounced and unexpected code change lowered the liquidation threshold. Pac Finance said that they had asked an engineer to make changes to the smart contract, and that that person had unexpectedly decreased the threshold at which positions could be forcibly liquidated. This change resulted in $26 million being liquidated across the project.

Pac Finance has said they are "actively developing a plan with [impacted users] to mitigate the issue."

Australian NGS Crypto mining fund collapses

NGS Crypto, which sold "crypto mining packages" to interested investors, has been put into receivership. The Australian firm encouraged customers to set up a self-managed super fund — a type of retirement fund — to achieve returns they said were powered by crypto mining. The firms advertised returns of up to 16% annually, and promised that investors would receive 100% of their initial investment back at the term's completion — even "in the unlikely event that crypto mining becomes unprofitable".

NGS and its associated business is believed to have pulled in around AU$62 million (US$42 million) from around 450 Australians.

Australian DCA Fund collapses with up to $65 million owed to creditors

Liquidators have been appointed for three cryptocurrency companies owned by Ash Balanian. DCA Capital, Digital Commodity Assets, and the Digital Commodity Assets Fund have all entered liquidation after investors raised red flags about the fund's management and licensure.

So far, losses are estimated to affect around 100 investors, who have up to AU$100 million (US$65 million) in claims.

Balanian had boasted of his career experience as a former NASA mission planner, and targeted his fund to wealthy investors with a minimum initial deposit of AU$50,000 (~US$33,000).

Crema Finance and Nirvana Finance hacker sentenced to three years imprisonment

Shakeeb Ahmed, the hacker who stole a combined $12 million from Crema Finance and Nirvana Finance in July 2022, has been sentenced to three years in prison. Ahmed had previously worked for Amazon, where he led a bug bounty program focused on paying whitehat hackers to discover flaws in Amazon's software.

US Attorney Damian Williams described this as the first ever conviction for a smart contract hack.

Ahmed forfeited around $12.3 million in stolen funds, and will pay more than $5 million in restitution.

MarginFi suffers huge outflows amid CEO ragequit

The MarginFi decentralized lending project on Solana has been at the epicenter of some major drama recently, amid concerns around oracle problems, withdrawal failures, and accusations that the project has not been paying out its promised rewards. Much of this came from a Solana staking pool, SolBlaze; MarginFi responded by describing their allegations as a "hit piece" and "misinformation".

On April 10, CEO Edgar Pavlovsky tweeted that he had resigned from MarginFi, publicly calling that he "d[idn't] agree with the way things have been done internally or externally". Pavlovsky had been criticized for his response to the controversy around MarginFi, in which he had been argumentative and insulting, tweeting things like "take your money out, go fuck yourself" to those who accused him and MarginFi of malfeasance.

Amid the chaos, more than $210 million in TVL has exited the protocol.

SEC sends Wells notice to Uniswap

The US Securities and Exchange Commission issued a warning to the Uniswap decentralized exchange in the form of a Wells notice. Wells notices are used to inform the recipient of an impending lawsuit, and give them a last-ditch opportunity to convince the SEC that the suit is unwarranted.

The notice was received with an adversarial posture by Uniswap, who announced its receipt with a blog post titled "Fighting for DeFi". "Taking into account the SEC's ongoing lawsuits against Coinbase and others as well as their complete unwillingness to provide clarity or a path to registration to those operating lawfully within the U.S., we can only conclude that this is the latest political effort to target even the best actors building technology on blockchains," they wrote.

The news was met with outrage in the crypto community, who generally saw the action as indicative of an overly aggressive posture by the SEC to crack down on defi and crypto more broadly.

$23 million goes missing amid STFIL claims that they're being investigated

STFIL, a protocol that promises liquid staking and "leverage mining" to holders of Filecoin's FIL token, announced on Twitter that "We believe that the STFIL core technical team is under investigation by local Chinese police."

According to STFIL, while some of the core team members were detained by Chinese police, FIL tokens were moved to an unknown wallet. They also acknowledged that there had been "abnormal, unscheduled upgrades to the protocol". They asked their community members for help in tracking the wallet.

Some speculated that the story was fake, and that the project had stolen the funds. However, Chinese police have in several instances cracked down on people and companies involved in Filecoin-related projects, including an $83.3 million alleged pyramid scheme in August 2023 and a group of Filecoin Ponzi schemers in 2021. Filecoin mining became popular in China after its 2018 initial coin offering, and also became a magnet for Ponzi schemes and other scams.

Bored Ape-themed fast food restaurant shuts down

It's hard to believe that the hamburger joint themed around the owner's Bored Ape NFT failed to take off. Although there was novelty value in the themed restaurant, which for a time boasted that it accepted cryptocurrency payments, the excitement seemed to wear off quickly after a few early news articles. After a while, the restaurant's crypto payments became spotty, with employees saying the system was unwieldy and unpopular among customers.

Some more recent Yelp reviews described fairly mediocre food, which "[t]he NFTs don't make up for".

The restaurant opened in April 2022, a month after owner Andy Nguyen purchased Bored Ape #6184 for $268,000, along with three Mutant Apes for an additional combined $187,000. #6184 became the restaurant's logo, and the others were incorporated into the restaurant's branding. The NFTs haven't been resold since, although it's unlikely they could recoup close to their original purchase prices — Bored Apes have been averaging a little under $50,000 in recent sales, and Mutants around $8,500 each.

Do Kwon and Terraform Labs found liable for $40 billion fraud

After hearing arguments that Terraform Labs was "built on lies" during a two-week-long trial, the jury in the civil case against the company and its founder Do Kwon found that both were liable for fraud.

Kwon and his company were behind the algorithmic stablecoin, Terra, which dramatically collapsed in May 2022, sending huge ripple effects throughout the ecosystem. He and his company had lied about the stability of the token, ultimately causing massive financial damage to the tune of around $40 billion.

Kwon is in custody in Montenegro after attempting to flee criminal cases in both the United States and South Korea. The civil case in the US proceeded without him.

SushiSwap team votes to give themselves control of much of the "decentralized" project's treasury

The leadership team behind SushiSwap, a popular defi platform, submitted proposals for a DAO governance vote that would transfer control of around $40 million from the DAO to a small centralized organization called "Sushi Labs". That organization would also receive all future airdrops awarded to SushiSwap. According to the proposal, this was motivated by a desire for efficiency and faster development.

The "yes" votes are currently in the lead with a 63% margin. The most yes votes came from sushigov.eth, the official SushiSwap team address, which also created the proposal. It is the first time that address has ever participated in a governance proposal.

The 5.5 million yes votes from the team wallet, plus another 3.1 million delegated from other community members, were enough to push the vote to majority support. A former SushiSwap contributor has also alleged that the SushiSwap team was manipulating the vote with additional wallets.

On Twitter, Sushi's "Head Chef" claimed that he had consulted with lawyers and then authorized the voting activity out of fear of an "extortative [sic] governance attack attempt".

Project promising to rug pull raises almost $29,000

A project describing itself as "The world's first memecoin pre-announced as a rugpull" was explicit in its marketing: "do not buy this coin, as it will go to zero."

Despite that, people sent the creator over 8.8 ETH (almost $29,000) for the project's "pre-sale", even as they repeated on Twitter that the project was a scam and that no one should buy it.

FixedFloat exchange hacked again

The FixedFloat cryptocurrency exchange was exploited again, this time for around $2.8 million. This follows shortly after a February 18 hack in which attackers made off with $26 million.

FixedFloat acknowledged the theft in a Twitter post, and blamed the same thieves. They claimed that this theft was enabled by a vulnerability in a third-party service.

Solana faces wave of drain attacks linked to trading bots including Solareum

The Solana ecosystem is grappling with a spate of drained wallets. A cause has yet to be definitively determined, but some of the thefts were linked to the use of trading bots like Solareum. Solareum speculated that the exploits may have been linked to compromised Telegram bot tokens, which could have allowed the attackers to obtain private keys from message history.

Solareum later wrote that they would be closing the project, and deleted their website. This drew some criticism from users who accused them of doing nothing to investigate the hack, or even being responsible themselves. The project wrote on Twitter, "We at #SOLAREUM team can clarify that we DO NOT steal money." Ah, well, in that case.

Other bots may have been involved in the theft, though it's not clear at this point. Though there was some speculation that a trading bot called BonkBot was to blame, that seems to have been unfounded.

The total theft amount is not clear, but exceeds $500,000.

Prisma Finance hacked for $12 million; attacker makes detailed demands

The defi protocol Prisma Finance was hacked for 3,257 ETH ($11.5 million). An attacker was able to take advantage of a flaw in the project's smart contracts, allowing them to manipulate users' positions and steal some of their collateral. Two other watchful attackers observed the attack strategy and replicated it, stealing a combined additional 173 ETH (~$610,000).

Plasma paused the protocol after detecting the attack.

The first attacker, who stole the bulk of the assets, sent an on-chain message to Prisma claiming that they had performed a "whitehat rescue", and inquired about returning the funds. In later messages, however, they asked the project to answer questions about their security practices and projects' responsibilities to users to prevent attacks. The attacker then transferred the stolen funds to Tornado Cash — indicating their return is unlikely.

In another message, the attacker was angry that Prisma had not expressed gratitude to them or remorse to their users, and was angry they had used terms like "exploit" and "attack" in their description of the incident. They demanded that the team reveal their identities, apologize, and thank the attacker in an online press conference.

Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sam Bankman-FriedSam Bankman-Fried (attribution)
Sixteen months after the collapse of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. He has also been ordered to pay an $11 billion monetary judgment.

The sentence follows his conviction on all seven felony charges in November 2022 — a decision reached by the jury within hours of beginning their deliberations.

Bankman-Fried intends to appeal the conviction.

  • Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Lewis A. Kaplan: Sentencing held on 3/28/2024 for Samuel Bankman-Fried [archive]

LENX co-founder accused of $10 million rug pull

The LENX cross-chain bitcoin liquidity protocol has recently been accused of a $10 million rug pull after community members observed massive withdrawals of treasury funds which were then sent to Binance accounts.

One of the co-founders, known only as "Paul", claimed on Discord that he was "trying to investigate" the movement of funds, which have been blamed on the project's other co-founder, John Kim.

Conversations on Discord suggest that a remaining $3 million in treasury funds were protected, and that the remaining LENX team may have been able to convince Binance to freeze the account that received stolen funds. However, little has been verifiably confirmed to date.

LENX is backed by the Frax Finance lending protocol.

KuCoin and founders criminally charged

The cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin and two of its founders, Chun Gan and Ke Tang, were indicted in the Southern District of New York on charges of conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and conspiring to violate the Bank Secrecy Act. Both founders are Chinese citizens, and neither has been located or arrested.

According to prosecutors, they tried to conceal that the exchange had customers from the United States in order to claim that they were exempt from US anti-money laundering laws. They also marketed KuCoin as a KYC-optional exchange where customers from the US could operate unverified accounts.

The charges against the founders carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.

"Munchables" crypto game exploited for $62.5 million

A small round furry shape with big blue eyes and thin legs, somewhat resembling a soot spriteA Munchable (attribution)
The "Munchables" crypto game explains: "Schnibbles grow on every realm across the Munchable's world. Each realm has their own unique and distinctive schniblet, and the Munchables react differently based on their compatibility to the schniblets fed to them. When creating an account for the Munchables, you must choose the location of your snuggery." Right then.

Things went awry in the land of the schnibbles and snuggeries when an attacker siphoned around 17,400 ETH ($62.5 million). Various descriptions of the attack circulated, with blockchain sleuth zachxbt attributing it to a recently hired developer, and crypto developer 0xQuit claiming the theft appeared to have been "planned since deploy".

Some began discussing the possibility that the Blast layer-2 blockchain might forcibly roll back the chain to "undo" the hack. Some have argued this is contra to the crypto ethos or would set a bad precedent, while others have argued that as a blockchain focused more on gaming and experimentation and less on decentralization and other facets of crypto ideology, it would be a reasonable step.

Some hours after the attack, the exploiter was convinced to return the funds.

Curio RWA project suffers $16 million exploit

Curio, a crypto project that creates tokens based on "real-world assets" (RWAs) like cars, watches, wine, and other goods, has suffered an attack that saw around $16 million drained from the project's funds.

A bug in the project's Ethereum smart contract enabled an attacker to mint 1 billion of the project's CGT governance token. Although the tokens were notionally priced at around $40 million, the loss to the project was estimated at closer to $16 million.

Curio DAO announced that they intended to compensate users affected by the theft over a year-long period.

Solana memecoin frenzy sparks trend of incredibly racist meme tokens

A screenshot of many Solana tokens on DEXScreener, including:
JEWS "Jews did 911"
卐 "NAZI"
N*** TRUMP "N*** Trump"
N***OLAS "N***OLAS CAGE"
COVID "chinadidcovid"
N***Butt "N*** Butt Token"
APERAH "aperah wenfree"
BDN "Big Dick N***"
CHIGGA "Chinese N***"
HITLER "I was right"
BOJE "Book of J***ers"
WODNDOR "AuschwitzWoodenDoor"
LIBTARD "Go Woke Go Broke"
BULLJEW "BULL JEW"
wifcancer "kate wif cancer"
N*** TRUMP "N*** TRUMP 2024"
GayPedo "Gays Are Pedos"
J*** "J*** Buice"Racist Solana tokens on DEXScreener (attribution)
Solana memecoin trading has been booming lately, with people making money by speculating on tokens themed around various memes and jokes. Amid an explosion in trading innocuously-named meme tokens like dogwifhat has also been a rise in blatantly racist tokens, named after racial slurs, featuring racist caricatures, or named after antisemitic conspiracy theories.

The tokens became so popular that projects showing newly-released tokens, like DEXScreener, became full of such tokens. DEXScreener released a statement on Twitter to say that "We'll be reviewing our token profile moderation policy in the coming days. We won't be the gatekeepers of what happens on-chain, but we're definitely not here to spread hate." The replies to the tweet were, predictably, full of people accusing DEXScreener of "censorship" and "going woke".

Previously rug-pulled Lucky Star Currency project somehow rugs again

The astrology-based Lucky Star Currency project rug-pulled for $1.1 million in October 2023. You'd think that might be the end of it, but on March 22, 2024, ownership of the project was transferred to a malicious smart contract that then drained tokens priced at almost $300,000 from those who still held them.

You almost have to admire the tenacity.