Optimism: 20 million OP tokens stolen from Wintermute

A very optimistic hacker – Ethereum has been encountering serious congestion problems for many months. To remedy this, many so-called second-layer solutions have emerged. Their objective is simple: to deport the activity outside the Ethereum main chain, while inheriting its security. Among them, the layer 2 Optimism is experiencing difficulties following the launch of its OP token.

Optimism and its OP token

Optimism is a second layer of Ethereum leveraging Optimistic Rollups. Launched in January 2021Optimism is on the third step of the L2 podium in terms of TVL (total value locked) with more than $800 million deposited through its various protocols.

On June 1, the second layer solution launched its own governance token. On this occasion, the community benefited from an airdrop of part of the tokens.

This launch was marked by record demand. This has allowed Optimism to reach new heights in terms of the number of transactions made daily.

Apart from some congestion issues that caused delays or even failures for some transactions, the launch of the token went smoothly. At least that’s what we thought until recently.

20 million OP tokens stolen from Wintermute

At the same time, OP tokens have been granted to several prominent projects in its ecosystem. Among them, 20 million OP tokens have been allocated to the Wintermute project. These funds come from the fund dedicated to partnerships.

This allocation was made for the purpose “to facilitate the experience of users seeking to acquire OPs”. Thus, the allocated funds were to enable Wintermute to “to provide liquidity provision services”.

Unfortunately, not everything went as planned. Thus, to receive the funds, Wintermute communicated a multisignature address deployed on Ethereum. Only, this address was not yet deployed on Optimism.

Thus, an attacker took advantage of this opportunity, to deploy a multi-signature address on Optimism, allowing it to take control of the 20 million allocated OP tokens.

Subsequently, the striker sold 1 million of these tokens. In addition, Vitalik Buterin’s Optimism address also received one million tokens. For its part, the price of the OP token recorded a drop of 30% following the sale of the attacker, falling from $1 to $0.7.

1 million OP tokens sent to Vitalik Buterin.

Currently the striker holds still the remaining 18 million tokens, representing a total value of $14 million.

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Wintermute attempts to recover funds from Optimism

Obviously, the Optimism and Wintermute teams are not standing idly by in the face of this catastrophic situation.

Thus, the CEO of Wintermute, Evgeny Gaevoysent a message to the attacker, urging him to return the funds.

Message from Wintermute to the attacker.
Message from Wintermute to the attacker.

We are open to considering this a white hat exploit. Moreover, the way the attack was carried out is rather impressive and we may even consider possibilities for consultation or other forms of cooperation in the future. We are also happy with the scenario in which the remaining 19M OP would be returned to the Optimism wallet. »

In other words, Wintermute and Optimism offer the attacker the choice to return the funds, while keeping the proceeds from the sale of the 1 million OP tokens as the reward.

These leave him one week to make a decision. If he does not return the funds, Wintermute says he is determined to carry out a thorough investigation into the identity of the attacker and reveal it to the competent authorities.

For its part, Optimism made a second transfer of 20 million tokens to Wintermute, this time on a verified wallet, so that the company could provide its liquidity provisioning service.

Either way, the distribution of the OP token therefore allowed Optimism to launch its governing body. Moreover Vitalik Buterin acclaimed the design of the latter.

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Optimism: 20 million OP tokens stolen from Wintermute


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