- Bitmart, a centralized crypto exchange, has lost around $196 million to hackers according to PeckShield.
- The CEO of Bitmart has confirmed the hack as the exchange has suspended all withdrawals.
- The security breach is the 3rd CEX crypto hack this year.
A $196 million hack has been uncovered on Bitmart, a centralized cryptocurrency exchange.
Blockchain security and data analytics provider PeckShield identified large-scale transfers of Ethereum and BSC happening on the Cayman Island-based crypto exchange’s wallet and raised the alarm.
PeckShield has so far identified around $100 million worth of Ethereum based tokens and another $96 million worth of Binance Smart Chain (BSC) based tokens that were transferred out. The list involved over 20 tokens from both chains including BNB, Safemoon, BUSD, and several meme coins.
In what the blockchain security firm has described as being “a simple case of swap, transfer, and wash,” the hacker appears to have systematically used 1inch, a decentralized exchange aggregator to swap the stolen funds for Ether (ETH) and then proceed to deposit the ETH into Tornado Cash, a privacy mixer, to obfuscate attempts at tracking the funds.
The CEO of Bitmart, Sheldon Xia, has confirmed the security breach. In a tweet, Xia estimated the drained funds to be worth around $150 million, stating that the exchange had not yet identified the method used to carry out the exploit.
He however assured users that the breached wallet held only a small portion of the exchange’s tokens and the other wallets were left untampered with, adding that the exchange was suspending all withdrawals till further notice.
Crypto hacks are becoming more prevalent
The Bitmart hack, while potentially being one of the biggest, is only the latest in a growing number of cryptocurrency platform security breaches that have taken place this year. Malicious actors have been taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the security of both decentralized and centralized cryptocurrency platforms.
Since 2017, more than $2 billion have been stolen from centralized exchanges cumulatively. While the cases have been reducing this year compared to other years, the most common form of hack has been the infiltration of the private keys to the exchange’s hot wallet.
So far in the year, there have been two other confirmed cases of security breaches on centralized exchanges. These include Liquid, which lost $97 million to hackers in August, and Hotbit, which was breached in April leading to the exchange shutting down for a while.
However, the biggest centralized exchange hack to date has remained that of Coincheck which lost crypto worth $534m in 2018.
These occurrences, while being recoverable, have the effect of giving the crypto market a severe reputation. Susceptibility to hacks is one major reason regulatory bodies all over the world have paid a lot of attention to the crypto market. A case in point is the U.S SEC that has repeatedly described the market as “the wild west.“