Hacker Sends 1 Million Optimism Tokens to Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin. Layer-2 scaling solution for Ethereum Optimism disclosed yesterday that a hacker stole 20 million Optimism (OP) tokens after token launch partner Wintermute transferred the tokens to the wrong account. The hacker has now sent one million of the stolen OP tokens to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s wallet.
The hacker made away with 20 million OP tokens last week after an administrative error. The native tokens of Optimism’s new DAO, the Optimism Collective DAO, are OP tokens (Optimism Tokens). Such governance tokens are used by DAOs, or decentralized autonomous organizations, to allow members to vote collectively on decisions. The 20 million OP tokens were intended to be distributed to Optimism Collective stakeholders in order to continue the token’s launch process.
However, Optimism consulted market maker Wintermute to streamline the token airdrop process, and the tokens were accidentally sent last week to an inaccessible account, which a hacker then infiltrated, successfully stealing all 20 million tokens.
After escaping with the haul, which was worth approximately $35 million at the time of the theft, the hacker sold one million of the OP tokens for ETH. Then they sat on the remaining 19 million tokens for a week, remaining silent.
During that time, Optimism, Wintermute, and Crypto Twitter speculated on the hacker’s intentions. Wintermute hoped in a blog post yesterday that the hack was a “white hat,” or benevolent operation, given that the hacker kept the vast majority of OP tokens. They also threatened the hacker with legal repercussions if the remaining tokens were not returned within a week.
The hacker is now befuddling onlookers with their next move: sending another million OP tokens, worth $824,000 at the time of writing, to Vitalik Buterin’s public wallet. The transfer took place today at 12:36 a.m. UTC. The remaining 18 million OP tokens are still in the hacker’s wallet.
The hacker’s motivation for such a move is unclear and does little to clarify the attack’s purpose, whether it is to raise awareness or accrue financial gain. Users have previously sent tokens to Buterin’s wallet for a variety of reasons. Last year, Shiba Inu token developers sent $8 billion in cryptocurrency to Buterin’s wallet in order to remove half of the token’s supply from circulation. Buterin burned 90% of the tokens and donated the remaining 10% to Covid-related charities.
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