Another day, another crypto hack – but this one is a big one.
A hacker has stolen nearly $600 million worth of the BNB cryptocurrency, which is issued and held by popular crypto exchange Binance. The hack happened late Thursday and was investigated and reported by security experts @samczsun and Igor Igamberdievincluding.
According to samczsun, the hacker did this by tricking BSC Token Hub, a cryptocurrency bridge, into sending them just over 2 million BNB, worth around $586 million at the time.
The tweet may have been deleted
(opens in new tab)
Here’s a very quick primer on what it is: BSC, or Binance Smart Chain, is a cryptocurrency platform for running decentralized applications, similar to Ethereum. BNB, or Binance Coin, is the cryptocurrency issued by Binance. think of it as Ethereum’s ether. And a bridge is a project that allows you to move funds from one crypto platform (chain) to another.
According to samczsun’s analysis, the attacker used a bug in the BSC Token Hub to arbitrarily mint, allowing him to mint (create) BNB coins out of thin air.
Ethereum’s The Merge is the most important event in crypto this year. Here’s why.
CEO of Binance Changpeng “CZ” Zhao confirmed the hack shortly after. “An exploit on a cross-bridge, BSC Token Hub, resulted in additional BNB. We have asked all validators to temporarily suspend BSC. The issue has now been contained. Your funds are safe. We apologize for the inconvenience and will provide further updates accordingly,” he tweeted.
While samcszun claims that the stolen amount is much higher (and this is confirmed by actual transactions on the chain), CZ claims that the “current impact estimate” is around $100 million. In an official post on Reddit, Binance said that “the initial estimate for the funds removed from BSC is between $100 – $110 million” and an estimated $7 million is already frozen (meaning the hacker cannot move the coins). The difference in numbers is likely due to Binance referring to the funds the hacker managed to transfer to other chains or make inaccessible in other ways.
This is not the first major hack to affect Binance. In 2019, Binance was hacked for around $40 million, with the hacker stealing around 7,000 bitcoins from the exchange. The funds were never recovered, but the company covered the customer losses.
The price of BNB fell about 3.5 percent after the hack and currently stands at around $285 according to Coingecko.