Why This Hacker Sent 1M Optimism Tokens To Vitalik Buterin

The inventor of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin was the unintended recipient of 1 million OP tokens from this community’s scalability resolution Optimism. The staff behind this venture addressed issues a few potential exploit associated to the launch of their governance token.

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As clarified by Optimism, they entered a take care of liquidity supplier Wintermute to “facilitate a smoother experience for users” seeking to purchase OP and take part within the venture’s governance mannequin. As a part of the settlement, Optimism despatched 20 million OP tokens to a multi-signature deal with.

However, the liquidity supplier was unable to entry the funds because it found the deal with was designed as an Ethereum layer-1 multi-sig with out an Optimism, which operates as a second layer resolution, sensible contract deployment. About this, the liquidity supplier mentioned:

As we communicated the pockets deal with to the Optimism staff, we made a critical error.

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The Optimism partnered started a “recovery operation” to achieve entry to the funds, as they concluded with Wintermute that the funds “were potentially retrievable and that nobody other than Wintermute could recover those funds”, the liquidity supplier mentioned in a statement.

The restoration operation was scheduled, the liquidity supplier clarified, for June 7th, 2022, however a hacker beat them to it. The staff behind the Ethereum second layer resolution defined:

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Unfortunately, an attacker was capable of deploy the multisig to L2 with completely different initialization parameters earlier than these efforts have been accomplished, assuming possession of the 20m OP.

Furthermore, Optimism claims the attacker started promoting the stolen funds. As a lot as 1 million OP tokens have been “dumped” into the market from the hacker’s deal with: 0x4f3a120E72C76c22ae802D129F599BFDbc31cb81.

At the time of writing, this deal with nonetheless holds 18 million OP tokens or $14 million with a further $3 in USD Coin (USDC). However, new developments made the entire incident weirder.

Why Sent Part Of The Funds To Vitalik Buterin?

Developer Yoav Weiss, Security Fellow on the Ethereum Foundation, provided different particulars in regards to the latest occasions. He believes the attacker may very well be a Whitehat hacker.

He primarily based this presumption on the truth that the attacker waited 4 days earlier than taking possession of the OP funds. During that point, there was a danger that Wintermute may need deployed the answer to get better the funds.

In addition, the attacker hasn’t moved the funds, as Optimism believed. In step, the inventor of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin acquired 1 million tokens and Weiss himself acquired one other 1 million OP.

Projects typically ship Vitalik Buterin tokens to rejoice the launch of their platforms, or to “burn them”, because the inventor of Ethereum hardly ever makes use of them. The incontrovertible fact that Weiss is a safety fellow appears to be a part of a message from the attacker.

The staff behind Optimism claims the hacker has not used the funds for any exercise associated to its governance mannequin. If this example modifications, they declare further measures will likely be taken alongside the OP neighborhood.

Other measures can be found, however the Optimism staff refuses to implement them and jeopardizes the venture’s imaginative and prescient of a permissionless community. They concluded:

(…) incidents like this are the rising pains of an evolving trade. This is a reminder to everybody coping with contracts throughout completely different chains that the safety assumptions of 1 chain don’t essentially carry over to a different.

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At the time of writing, OP’s value trades at $0.8 with a 16% loss within the final 24-hours.

OP Vitalik Buterin Ethereum Optimism
OP’s value developments to the draw back on the 1-hour chart. Source: OPUSDT Tradingview

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