Binance-backed BNB Chain hits brakes after $100m is stolen in cryptocurrency hack

An already bad year for cryptocurrencies took another turn for the worse after about $100 million worth of Binance Coin, better known as BNB, was stolen in what appears to be the latest hack to hit digital assets.

An exploit occurred on a bridge between blockchains and the issue is “contained now”, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, billionaire co-founder of Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, said on Twitter on Friday.

Earlier, BNB Chain tweeted from its official account that it was “temporarily pausing BSC [Binance Smart Chain]” due to irregular activity.

A representative for Binance-backed blockchain BNB Chain estimated the incident involved $100m to $110m of digital tokens.

At least $7m in stolen funds has already been frozen, the representative said. The bridge, BSC Token Hub, has been suspended.

About $2 billion has been lost in cryptocurrency hacks this year, many perpetrated by North Korea-linked groups. Cross-chain bridges used to transfer tokens across blockchains have been a popular target.

The Binance ecosystem is among the highest profile to be buffeted. Mr Zhao said on Twitter that “in all likelihood, Binance will cover any fund that the hackers get away with”.

BNB Chain said it was working with security services to freeze the transfers of stolen funds.

BNB fell as much as 3.3 per cent on Friday and was trading at about $285 as of 10.08am in Tokyo.

The cryptocurrency sector has been pummelled both by hacks and a deep rout that has wiped about $2 trillion off the value of digital assets.

The wider cryptocurrency markets took the latest developments in their stride. Bitcoin was little changed at about $20,000.

Updated: October 07, 2022, 5:22 AM