News - Wormhole airdrop did not go smoothly

By Mike Hesp

Wormhole airdrop did not go smoothly

Scams, crime and fraud

After an $800 million airdrop, Wormhole's token made a lightning start. There was a curious reunion with a well-known hacker.

Token worth more than $800 million: The Wormhole bridge project put together a large airdrop package last week to market the newly launched W token with media coverage. A lucrative business - at least for authorized participants. According to its current valuation, the token reached a market capitalization of 1.4 billion USD after only a few days: Ranked 80th among the largest cryptocurrencies. A total of six percent of the total token stock was released during the airdrop. However, this did not go completely smoothly.

Parallel to the airdrop, there were several attempted frauds on X. Below the announcement of the official Wormhole account were links to several fraudulent phishing pages. Among the profiles were also some verified profiles. Among the profiles, there were also some that had been verified by X with a gold checkmark.

Wormhole founder Robinson Burke's account was also redirected to fraudulent websites after it was hacked. The profile has since been made private.

Wormhole hacker reports

Curiously, the list of participants also included the person who stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the project in a cyber attack a few years ago. Apparently, they had initially failed to block the actual known wallet address. A total of four wallet addresses associated with the exploit at the time were initially authorized for the airdrop. These would have been eligible to issue tokens worth USD 50,000, but were later removed from the list.

In the February 2022 attack on Wormhole, the hacker exploited a security hole, allowing him to "mine" 120,000 Wrapped Ether (wETH) on the Solana blockchain. The loss to the Wormhole project was about $320 million USD - one of the worst crypto exploits ever.

The Wormhole team then offered the hacker a ransom of US$10 million. The 120,000 ETH were replaced. Just under a year after the incident, a court order authorized Wormhole to recover the assets. About US$140 million was recovered through changes in protocol.

What does Wormhole do?

Establishing data traffic between blockchains: This is the function of the so-called interoperability platform Wormhole. As a bridge between networks, Wormhole enables multichain applications and the transfer of data between blockchains. The project was founded in 2020, originally with the goal of connecting Ethereum and Solana. At that time, Wormhole was the only way to widely transfer assets between Ethereum and Solana.

Nearly 30 blockchains, including Polkadot, Base and Avalanche, are now connected to Wormhole. According to official figures, more than 200 applications and more than a million wallets use it.

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