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Hacker Behind $320 Million Wormhole Bridge Exploit Initially Eligible for $50,000 Airdrop

The individual behind the infamous $320 million exploit of the Wormhole bridge in 2022 discovered that they were initially qualified for an airdrop, which could have entitled them to claim $50,000 worth of the newly launched W tokens.

A thorough investigation conducted by the pseudonymous researcher known as Pland, outlined in a post on April 4th, uncovered that the Wormhole team had inadvertently omitted to exclude certain wallet addresses linked to the exploit responsible for siphoning $321 million in cryptocurrency from the cross-chain bridge.

Wormhole Exploit Addresses Temporarily Eligible for Airdrop, Later Deemed Ineligible

Wormhole, a cross-chain protocol, serves as a token bridge facilitating crypto transactions across Ethereum, Solana, Binance Smart Chain (BSC), Polygon, Avalanche, Oasis, and Terra, eliminating the need for centralized exchanges.

In February 2022, the Wormhole Bridge fell victim to hackers, resulting in a loss of 120,000 wETH, valued at $321 million. This incident marked the largest DeFi attack of 2022, where the hacker exchanged wETH tokens for Ethereum, SOL, USDC, APE, SX, among others.

Subsequently, Wormhole recognized a white-hat hacker with a $10 million reward for identifying and fixing a bug in its core bridge contract on Ethereum, shortly after the platform’s compromise in the cyber attack.

However, in February 2023, Web3 infrastructure firm Jump Crypto and DeFi platform Oasis.app orchestrated a “counter exploit” against the Wormhole protocol hacker. Their collaborative efforts led to the successful recovery and return of $225 million in digital assets to secure wallets.

Recent information obtained from the Solana-based airdrop checker Airdrop.link, subsequently reported by Degen News on April 4, disclosed that four wallet addresses associated with the hackers were briefly eligible to claim Wormhole’s airdrop.

Solana block explorer Solana.fm identified all four of these eligible wallet addresses as being linked to the 2022 Wormhole exploit.

Had the hacker chosen to claim the airdrop, they would have been entitled to approximately 31,642 Wormhole (W) tokens, valued at $50,000 based on current market prices.

However, upon further investigation, it was found that the hacker wallet addresses were no longer eligible for the airdrop, suggesting that the Wormhole team may have promptly rectified the oversight.

Wormhole Announces Airdrop of Over 675 Million Tokens Worth $850 Million

Newly acquired data from the Solana-based airdrop checker Airdrop.link, later disclosed by Degen News on April 4th, unveiled that four wallet addresses linked to the hackers momentarily met the criteria to receive Wormhole’s airdrop.

Solana’s block explorer Solana.fm flagged all four of these eligible wallet addresses as connected to the 2022 Wormhole exploit.

Had the hacker opted to claim the airdrop, they would have been granted approximately 31,642 Wormhole (W) tokens, valued at $50,000 based on current market rates.

However, upon further scrutiny, it was determined that the hacker’s wallet addresses were no longer eligible for the airdrop, indicating that the Wormhole team might have swiftly addressed the issue.

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Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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