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AscendEX, former BitMax, loses $77M in hack

By:
on Dec 13, 2021
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  • $60 million, $9.2 million, and $8.5 million lost from Ethereum, BSC, Polygon
  • Biggest portion of the lost funds comprised of taraxa, a minor token, with $10.8 million
  • Exchange recently raised $50 million in a Polychain Capital-led Series B funding round

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The exchange reported it has transferred unaffected assets to cold wallets while the investigation is ongoing.

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AscendEX lost an estimated $77 million after one of its hot wallets was breached, CoinDesk reported. On Sunday, it tweeted that a number of unauthorized transactions from one of its hot wallets on Saturday had been identified.

Stolen funds spread across three main blockchains

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According to PeckShield, a blockchain analytics firm, the stolen funds were spread across three chains: Ethereum (ETH/USD), Binance Smart Chain (BNB/USD), and Polygon (MATIC/USD). The amount lost from each was $60 million, $9.2 million, and $8.5 million.

The biggest portion of the lost funds was comprised of taraxa (TARA), a minor token, with $10.8 million. The combined shares of two stablecoins, USDT and USDC, comprised slightly less – $10.7 million.

AscendEX raised $50M in Series B funding round

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AscendEX, formerly known as BitMax, offers crypto exchange, custody and staking services and claims to have a million retail and institutional clients. About a month ago, it raised $50 million in a Polychain Capital-led funding round with participation from Alameda Research and other investors, such as Nothing Research, Uncorrelated Ventures, Eterna Capital, and more.

At the time, AscendEX claimed to have exceeded an average daily trading volume of $200 million. No valuation for the company was disclosed.

Almost $200M drained from BitMart after private key theft

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On December 6, CoinDesk reported that $196 million in crypto from the exchange BitMart was drained after hackers stole a private key and opened two hot wallets. $100 million of various cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum blockchain and $96 million on Binance Smart Chain was lost, crypto security firm PeckShield informed.

BitMart to compensate users

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Following a preliminary security check, the exchange identified assets affected and informed of intentions to compensate users out of its own pocket. It will announce a schedule to gradually keep going with deposits and withdrawals.

The hackers exchanged the tokens stolen for ether using 1inch, a decentralized exchange aggregator. Then, they deposited ether funds to Tornado Cash, a privacy mixer, to conceal their identities, PeckShield reported to CoinDesk.  

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