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$320 million stolen in latest cryptocurrency hack

Wormhole, a bridge linking the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, lost $320 million this week in an apparent hack.

A lucky escape  

Wormhole, one of the most popular bridges linking the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, reported the theft of cryptocurrencies worth over $320 million (£235 million) in total in an apparent hack that occurred on February 2.

The Ethereum and Solana blockchains are popular within the DeFi, or decentralized finance, a world where smart contracts have replaced traditional intermediaries such as brokerages, exchanges, and banks.

On February 3, however, Wormhole reported that the stolen funds had been restored. It also confirmed that its services were to resume online ahead of a full incident report that is currently taking place. The developers of Wormhole, Certus One, are reportedly offering a $10 million (£7 million) fee for the hackers responsible to come forward and share details of their exploit.

A record-breaking theft  

Blockchain cybersecurity company, CertiK, revealed that the hackers’ bounty included a minimum of $251 million (£184 million) in Ethereum, $47 million (£34 million) in Solana, and $4 million (£2 million) in USDC, a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar.
It marks the second-largest cryptocurrency hack since $600 million (£441 million) worth of tokens were taken from Poly Network in August last year.
In the cryptocurrency world, Ethereum has been the most widely used and trusted blockchain network since it exploded into the scene in 2015 whilst Solana is enjoying its newfound popularity despite having only been launched in 2019 due to faster speeds and lower costs.
The fast-growing popularity of bridges like Wormhole has largely materialized because most users no longer rely on a single blockchain but rather transfer their cryptocurrency holdings between several blockchains.