TRON partner crypto market maker Wintermute hacked for $160M

  • Algorithmic market maker Wintermute has been hacked, resulting in around $160 million worth of losses.
  • The team says its lending operations and over-the-counter services are unaffected while pleading with the attacker to engage in a whitehat response.

An unknown hacker targeted the decentralized finance (DeFi) operations of UK-based cryptocurrency market maker Wintermute, making off with about $160 million worth of digital assets. Wintermute is the latest victim of a multi-million dollar DeFi hack.

Wintermute hit in $160M hack 

In a Tuesday announcement on Twitter, Wintermute founder and CEO Evgeny Gaevoy confirmed that the company had lost $160 million after suffering a major security breach. He added that the company’s centralized and OTC services were not affected by the hack, before assuring users that it remains “solvent with twice over that amount in equity left”.

Gaevoy noted that 90 different tokens were looted. Of these assets, only two of the sums lost were worth between $1 million and $2.5 million. The spoils from the remaining 88 were each worth less than $1 million, suggesting there’s not likely to be a major sell-off of assets.

Wintermute, regulated by the U.K Financial Conduct Authority, trades billions of dollars worth of crypto assets on a daily basis as it offers liquidity in the market. Last week, Tron tapped Wintermute to become its official market maker. The move was aimed at assisting the decentralized network’s native TRX token to improve liquidity across various exchanges.  

Gaevoy indicated that Wintermute is treating the hack as a whitehat event, in which the perpetrator returns all the stolen funds and receives a reward for pinpointing the vulnerability that will help avoid repeat exploits in the future.

Another day, another DeFi attack

Notably, Wintermute is only the latest in a string of projects to become the target of hacks in recent months. 

The largest DeFi attack of all time, April’s Ronin bridge hack, saw more than $600 million worth of digital assets drained from the bridge that powers the Ethereum-based game Axie Infinity. A couple of months before that, at least $300 million was stolen from Wormhole, sending shockwaves across the Solana network community and the wider DeFi ecosystem.

Just last month, roughly $200 million was siphoned out of crypto bridge Nomad in a frenzied free-for-all hack. Days later, hackers plundered $570 million from DeFi protocol Curve.Finance. With over $1.2 billion lost to DeFi heists last year, Wintermute is unlikely to the be last time the crypto industry faces a hack.