$115 million stolen from two crypto firms linked to Justin Sun after hack

Technology

The logo of HTX, formerly known as Huobi, is seen on the screen of a mobile device in this photo.
Nurphoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Two cryptocurrency platforms linked to high-profile digital entrepreneur Justin Sun were hacked in two exploits that may have stolen an estimated $115 million to date.

The targeted projects include the HTX digital currency exchange, formerly known as Huobi, from which hackers drained around $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

So-called blockchain bridge Heco Chain, was also attacked, HTX confirmed.

Sun, who is an investor in HTX and linked to the Heco Chain, confirmed the events.

A blockchain bridge connects different networks to allow the fast swap and movement of various cryptocurrencies,. These chains have proven to be vulnerable to hacking.

Market analytics firm CryptoQuant assesses that a total of $85.4 million worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen from the Heco Chain. It was largely denominated in stablecoin USDT and ether.

A large amount of HTX’s native cryptocurrency, HBTC, was also stolen. The price of HBTC was down more than 5% versus 24 hours before, according to data from CoinGecko.

CNBC has reached out to HTX for comment on Heco Chain losses.

HTX said that it is identifying the source of the attack and “has implemented urgent measures to protect user assets.” The exchange has temporarily suspended deposit and withdrawal services on both HTX and Heco Chain as a “precautionary measure.”

The company also said that it will “fully compensate for any losses incurred due to the hot wallet attack.” A hot wallet refers to a cryptocurrency wallet which is connected to the internet.

CryptoQuant data showed that around 11,100 ether tokens have been moved from the HTX exchange in the last few hours. This is around $23 million worth of cryptocurrency and is mainly the result of hackers stealing the digital coins, as well as a few users trying to get their money from the exchange, a spokesperson for CryptoQuant told CNBC.

CryptoQuant analyst Bradley Park said the hackers are switching their stolen assets into the more liquid ether asset because stablecoins USDT and USDC can be frozen.

Tether, which issues USDT and Circle, the company behind USDC, were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

The HTX hack comes after another exchange backed by Sun, Poloniex, suffered a hack this month that led $100 million worth of cryptocurrencies being stolen.

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