$323 million in ETH stolen from cross-chain protocol Wormhole

According to a series of etherscan transactions, an attacker has exploited Wormhole, a bridge between the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, for close to $323 million in ETH.

Wormhole is a bridging protocol that enables assets to move across various blockchain protocols. When a user sends assets from one chain to another, the bridge locks the assets and mints a wrapped version of the funds on the destination chain.

It is not yet clear how the attacker executed the exploit, but it resulted in the theft of 120k wETH, worth about $323 million at current prices. Etherscan transaction records detail the theft of 93,000 of the exploited ETH. This is one of the largest exploits of a decentralized finance protocol to date.

Wormhole tweeted that the platform would be down for maintenance as it investigates the attack and would provide updates via its Twitter account. It later shared an update confirming that the platform had been exploited for 120k wETH with more details to come. In the meantime, the platform said it would add additional ETH over the next few hours to ensure wETH continues to be backed 1:1. 

"We are working to get the network back up quickly," it said in a tweet.

An address associated with the Wormhole deployer sent an on-chain message offering the attacker a whitehat agreement with a bug bounty of $10 million for the details of the exploit and return of the wETH minted in the attack.

Editor's Note: This story is breaking and will continue to be updated as more information comes to light. Initially, only 96,000 ETH appeared to be stolen before Wormhole confirmed the theft reached 120,000 ETH.

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Aislinn Keely joined The Block in the summer of 2019. She is a member of the outlet's policy team, holding down the legal beat. Before The Block, she lent her voice to the NPR affiliate WFUV, where she reported and anchored newscasts in addition to some podcast work. Aislinn is a proud Fordham Ram and editor-in-chief emerita of its newspaper. When she isn't writing or reporting, Aislinn is running and rock climbing.

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