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Wintermute Loses $160 Million in Latest Hacking Blow to DeFi Sector

Crypto market maker Wintermute fell victim to a hacking assault, leading to a loss of approximately $160 million in its decentralized finance (DeFi) operations.

The company’s CEO, Evgeny Gaevoy, disclosed via a tweet, “We’ve suffered a hack amounting to about $160M in our DeFi segment. However, our centralized finance and over-the-counter dealings remain untouched.” This signifies that the breach did not influence Wintermute’s activities in the centralized finance and OTC sectors.

In a subsequent update, Gaevoy assured stakeholders of the firm’s financial health, revealing that they still have assets worth around $320 million on hand and are in a solvent position.

He elaborated further in his tweet, “Our financial standing remains robust, with equity more than double the hacked amount. Out of the 90 compromised assets, only two had a notional value exceeding $1 million (with neither surpassing $2.5M), suggesting that there’s no impending massive selloff. We’ll promptly liaise with the teams associated with the affected assets.”

Following the cyber breach faced by Wintermute, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the CEO of the prominent crypto exchange Binance, extended a supportive hand. He proposed Binance’s security expertise to Wintermute, stating, “Our security team stands ready to assist and has been keeping a watchful eye on the situation.”

Wintermute touts itself as a frontrunner in the realm of global algorithmic market making for digital assets. They are adept at fostering liquid markets both on centralized and decentralized exchanges, as well as off-platform.

Recent data sounds an alarm for the crypto sector. A report from Chainalysis in August 2022 highlighted a growing trend of crypto-related criminal activities, notably hacks and fund thefts. By July 2022, breaches had resulted in crypto heists worth a staggering USD 1.9 billion, a notable increase from the nearly USD 1.2 billion stolen up to the same period in the previous year.

The Chainalysis report painted a rather bleak outlook, predicting, “The prevailing trend of increased hacks doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing.” This was further underscored by two significant breaches in the month’s initial week: a USD 190 million hit on the cross-chain bridge, Nomad, and a USD 5 million hack targeting Solana (SOL) wallets.

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I want to save money. Will cryptocurrency work?

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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