HTX and Heco Chain fall victim to $100 million crypto heist

abdelaziz Fathi

Crypto exchange HTX and blockchain protocol Heco Chain suffered a security breach, with a combined loss of $97 million in various tokens. Crypto entrepreneur Justin Sun, an investor in HTX, confirmed the incident and assured that the exchange would fully cover any losses incurred by its users.

Justin Sun

According to Sun, while deposits and withdrawals on HTX are currently suspended as part of the response plan, the funds that have not been affected by the hack are secure. The security breach was initially flagged by blockchain security firm Cyver, which suspected the root cause to be a private key leak. This leak presumably allowed unauthorized access to the Heco bridge, facilitating the transfer of tokens between Heco Chain and Ethereum.

Despite the two entities operating independently, HTX has been identified as one of the maintainers of Heco Chain. This incident marks the second security exploit linked to Sun’s projects, following a smaller-scale theft at HTX in October, where hackers stole 500 ether, approximately $8 million in value at the time. Those losses were also reportedly fully covered.

PeckShield, another blockchain security firm, observed over $86.6 million in digital assets moved from the HECO Chain bridge to suspicious addresses. The evidence suggested that the bridge itself was compromised, with the operator-initiated transactions hinting at potential operator compromise.

HECO, which was launched in December 2020 and merged into a single ecosystem with Tron and BitTorrent’s bridge in October 2022, aimed to offer high performance and a seamless cross-chain user experience. The recent breach on the HECO Chain is yet another challenge for Sun, coming on the heels of another exploit at Poloniex, a crypto exchange he acquired in 2018, which saw a $125 million loss attributed to compromised private keys.

Poloniex has since reported progress in its recovery efforts and is collaborating with a top security audit firm to enhance its protective measures. Justin Sun, also the founder of Tron, offered the hackers a 5% ‘white hat bounty’ with a seven-day deadline to return the stolen funds before involving law enforcement. He provided crypto wallet addresses for the hackers to return the stolen coins.

Cryptocurrency exchanges, frequently targeted by hackers, have witnessed similar incidents in recent months, including hacks on HTX, Bitrue, Gdac, and Deribit, resulting in massive losses.

Justin Sun was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission with market manipulation, fraud, and other offenses. Additionally, eight celebrities, including actress Lindsay Lohan and rapper Soulja Boy, have been accused of unlawfully promoting Sun’s crypto assets.

  • Read this next

    Fundamental Analysis

    Global FX Market Summary: EUR, Fed Minutes February 21, 2024

    Hawkish Fed minutes could strengthen USD, dovish BoE hints could boost euro, mixed economic data leaves impact unclear, FOMC minutes release today holds the most weight.

    Digital Assets

    360T launches Crypto NDF offering

    “By launching our crypto offering with non-deliverable derivatives products, we are allowing our diverse, global client base to engage with the crypto market without the need to build or invest in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) infrastructure. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with our industry partners to expand 360T’s crypto.”

    Technical Analysis

    FTSE 100 index Technical Analysis Report 20 February, 2024

    The FTSE 100 index is likely to fall to support level 7600.00 after reversing from resistance level 7750.00.

    Retail FX

    Afterprime enhances trade reporting with PrimeXM and TRAction

    “This collaboration has made setting up EMIR and MIFIR reporting for our CySEC entity a breeze, allowing us to maintain our focus on providing best-in-class pricing and top-notch customer service.”

    Market News

    US Market Stocks See a Dip Ahead of FOMC Minutes Announcement

    As the financial world eagerly awaits the release of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes scheduled for today, the S&P 500 index begins trading slightly lower, marking a subtle shift in market sentiment following a prolonged rally.

    Fintech

    Adaptive proves that “the future of finance is in the cloud”

    “While workloads have migrated to the cloud over the past decade, some have doubted whether its latency and fault tolerance can match that of on-premises solutions – our joint testing on Google Cloud, proves that this is the case.”

    Retail FX

    Axi Select offers live trading amid “end of demo account prop firm model”

    “We genuinely empathize with the thousands of talented traders who will now be denied access to their allocated funds, and we encourage anyone using the demo trading registration model to question whether their prop firm partner will be able to continue as an ongoing concern given recent events. Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of the end for the demo account prop firm model.”

    Digital Assets

    Celsius founder Mashinsky agrees to shared lawyers with Sam Bankman-Fried

    Former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky has addressed potential conflicts of interest in his legal representation during a brief hearing in a New York courtroom.

    Digital Assets

    Sam Bankman-Fried captured in first jail photo

    Sam Bankman-Fried, the once-billionaire founder of FTX, has been spotted looking quite different with a new beard and a slimmer figure in a photo that’s been making rounds, reportedly taken inside New York’s Metropolitan Detention Centre.

    <