The Wormhole hack: hacker shifts $155 million

According to transaction data, the hacker who was responsible for the $321 million Wormhole bridge breach has moved a substantial portion of the stolen cash. On January 23, the hacker transferred $155 million worth of Ether (ETH) to a decentralised exchange (DEX).

The Wormhole hack was the third greatest cryptocurrency theft in 2022. This occurred after an issue was discovered on February 2 in the protocol’s token bridge. This attack led to the theft of 120,000 Wrapped ETH (wETH), which had a total value of around $321 million.

According to the transaction history of the alleged wallet address used by the hacker, the most recent activity shows that 95,630 ETH was sent to the OpenOcean DEX and then subsequently converted into ETH-pegged assets such as Lido Finance’s staked ETH (stETH) and wrapped staked ETH. This information was gleaned from the blockchain transaction history of the alleged wallet address used by the hacker.

After doing more research into the transaction history, members of the cryptocurrency community such as Spreekaway discovered that the hacker went on to carry out a number of transactions that seemed to be strange.

For instance, the hacker utilised their holdings of stETH as collateral to borrow 13 million worth of the DAI stablecoin, which they then exchanged for more stETH, wrapped in more stETH, and then used to borrow some more DAI.

Notably, the Wormhole team has taken use of the chance to once again give the hacker a reward of $10 million if they return all of the cash. An encoded message in a transaction communicates this information to the hacker.

According to statistics provided by Dune Analytics, the substantial amount of ETH that was transacted by the hacker seems to have had a direct effect on the price of stETH.

The price of the asset began the day slightly below its peg of 0.9962 ETH on January 23, and it reached a high of 1.0002 ETH the next day before falling back to its previous level of 0.9981 ETH at the time of this writing.

Blockchain security companies such as Ancilia Inc. issued a warning on January 19 that searching the keywords “Wormhole Bridge” in Google currently shows promoted ad websites that are actually phishing operations. This is likely to attract more attention to the Wormhole hack in light of the most recent incident.

The community has been cautioned to use extreme caution on the content of the links they click on in relation to this phrase.


Tagged : / / / / / /

Ethereum price holds above $3K but network data suggests bulls may get trapped

When analyzing Ether’s (ETH) price chart, one could conclude that the 3-month long bearish trend has been broken for a few reasons. The current $3,100 price range represents a 43% recovery in 15 days and, more importantly, the descending channel resistance was ruptured on Feb. 7. 

Should Ether bulls start celebrating and calling for $4,000 and higher? That largely depends on how retail traders are positioned, along with the Ethereum network’s on-chain metrics. For instance, is the $30-plus transaction fee impacting the use of decentralized applications (dApps), or are there any other factors that will prohibit Ether’s price growth?

Ether (ETH) price at FTX, in USD. Source: TradingView

Since the 55.6% correction from the $4,870 all-time high to the cycle bottom at $2,160 on Jan. 24, Bitcoin (BTC) has failed to break the $45,500 resistance and traders concluded that a 12% correction was the most likely scenario.

On a brighter note, on Feb. 7, Big Four auditor KPMG’s Canadian wing announced the addition of Bitcoin and Ether to its corporate treasury. The decision reflects KPMG Canada’s belief that cryptocurrencies are a “maturing asset class,” according to Benjie Thomas, a managing partner for the firm.

Derivatives data tells a different story

To understand how confident traders are about Ether’s price recovery, one should analyze the perpetual contracts futures data. This instrument is the retail traders’ preferred market because its price tends to track the regular spot markets.

In any futures contract trade, longs (buyers) and shorts (sellers) are matched at all times, but their use of leverage varies. Consequently, exchanges will charge a funding rate to whichever side demands more leverage, and this fee is paid to the opposing side.

Ether perpetual futures 8-hour funding rate. Source: Coinglass

This indicator will tell us whether retail traders are getting excited, which would cause it to move above 0.05%, equivalent to 1% per week. Notice how the past couple of months showed a slightly negative funding rate, reflecting the bearish sentiment. Currently, there is no sign that retail traders are confident enough to reopen leveraged long positions.

One should analyze the Ethereum network’s on-chain data to understand if the lack of confidence is specific to leverage trading. For example, even though there is no set relation between Ether’s price and network use, low transaction volume and a decline in active users could be a concern if decoupled from a price hike.

On-chain metrics raise concern

Measuring the monetary value of the ETH transacted on the network provides a reliable indicator of effective use. Of course, this metric could be masqueraded by increasing adoption in layer-2 solutions but it remains a starting point.

Sum of native token units transferred per day. Source: CoinMetrics

The current $6.2 billion daily transaction average is a 55% drop from December’s peak and not really far from the 1-year low at $5.6 billion. Thus, it is safe to conclude that Ether token use is not showing signs of growth, at least on the primary layer.

Analysts should also check decentralized applications usage metrics. One must remember that the Total Value Locked (TVL) is heavily concentrated on lending platforms and decentralized exchanges (DEX). Consequently, gauging the number of active addresses provides a broader view.

Ethereum network 30-day dApps activity. Source: DappRadar

Apart from the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Opensea, Ethereum dApps saw a monthly 28% decrease in the number of active addresses. In a nutshell, that is disappointing usage data because the smart contract network was specifically designed to host decentralized applications.

Unless there’s an uptick in Ether transactions and dApps usage metrics, investors will interpret any Ether price move above $3,000 as a potential bull trap. As for retail traders’ neutral funding rate, it might as well be a bullish sign that the investor class typically enters long leverage positions after a strong rally.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.