A $100 Million Hack Hit Solana, XRP, and Cardano Hard Today

What happened

Yet another massive hack in the world of cryptocurrency could be considered par for the course. This year, more than $2 billion has been exploited from various crypto projects, with Tuesday’s hack of Solana-based decentralized lending platform Mango Markets creating a tremendous amount of concern among investors. 

As of 2 p.m ET on Thursday, Solana (SOL -2.02%), XRP (XRP -0.23%), and Cardano (ADA 0.65%) were down 2.6%, 1.4% and 2.9%, respectively, over the past 24 hours. That said, it should be noted that these cryptocurrencies have regained much of their losses throughout the trading day. Earlier this morning, these 24-hour declines had been as much as 9%, 8.7%, and 10.4%, respectively.

This hack has resulted in Solana losing approximately one-quarter of its total value locked (TVL) on its protocol. Total value locked is a key metric used to determine aggregate use of a network, with declines suggesting investors are pulling their capital out of a given ecosystem.

This recent hack appears to be the result of a sophisticated investor taking out large positions in leveraged perpetual contracts on the Mango Markets platform. This allowed for a mark-to-market surge in the perpetual contracts held by the trader, boosting the value and allowing the hacker to then essentially withdraw all of the liquidity on the protocol.

So what

This sort of attack on a given project’s collateral is one that clearly took a tremendous amount of time and effort. Now, the hacker in question is reportedly open to returning the exploited funds back to the protocol, so long as “bad debt,” which arose from a bailout paid to a highly leveraged whale, is repaid. In any case, the ability of one individual to effectively shut down a large and important decentralized lending protocol is big news.

For Solana specifically, this is the latest in a string of security-related issues that have concerned investors. For investors in other projects such as XRP and Cardano, exploits of top-10 projects have clearly provided concern. XRP is battling its own project-specific headwinds tied to an ongoing battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission over whether its token constitutes a security, and Cardano’s ecosystem has lost some of its luster following its highly anticipated Vasil Hard Fork upgrade.

Now what

Exploits (or hacks) will remain a key focal point for investors, particularly those who might be skeptical about the underlying technology to begin with. It’s still early innings for the nascent crypto sector, and mistakes are going to be made. That said, until the kinks are worked out, many institutional investors might choose to stay on the sidelines.