As the crypto market remains in disarray, hackers are continuing to keep their foot on the gas. In 2022, investors have seen more frequent and more expensive hacks. That trend continues still as bad actors descend on the Ankr (ANKR-USD) network. Speedy reactions from developers and exchanges alike might mitigate the pain, but the hackers still robbed the network of millions.
Indeed, even as the global crypto market capitalization continues to decrease, hacks remain on the rise. In 2021, the market ballooned, growing to a massive $2.8 trillion. Naturally, hackers turned their efforts more directly to the crypto market for its ease and wild speculation. By the end of the year, both the global market capitalization and the number of assets stolen throughout the year were at an all-time high. An estimated $2.1 billion was stolen throughout the year.
This year, those two metrics have diverged. The crypto market cap is taking a nosedive. Where once it was headed toward $3 trillion, it’s now barely hanging onto $800 billion. However, hacks haven’t calmed at all — in fact, hackers have gotten more aggressive. By the end of the third quarter, over $3 billion in assets have been stolen.
These bad actors appear to be latching onto crypto still simply because it’s much easier to hack a less secure project than it is to steal financial data elsewhere. And with networks aggregating massive swaths of assets on-chain, successful hacks have netted prizes as large as $650 million.
Simply put, hackers aren’t slowing down even if crypto values themselves are going down. The Ankr hack that occurred this week is evidence enough of that.
Ankr Hack Drains Network of $5 Million
Who needs cryptocurrency prices to be high when you can take a coin and make a few quadrillion of them? That’s what a hacker did in the newest crypto exploit, one which targeted the Ankr network.
The hack on this network, according to Blockchain Intelligence Group president Lance Morginn, revolves around a Binance (BNB-USD) staking reward token called Ankr Reward Bearing Staked BNB (aBNBc-USD). According to the group’s investigations team, an Ankr deployer address was compromised. The hacker was able to use this address to mint a whopping six quadillion aBNBc on Binance’s BNB chain.
After minting this mass of tokens — during which aBNBc prices dropped from $300 to just $1.50 — the hacker traded the aBNBc for BNB and other assets. Among these assets was $4.5 million worth of USD Coin (USDC-USD). The hacker then swapped these assets for Ethereum (ETH-USD) and mixed them with Tornado Cash. It’s worth noting that Tornado Cash is a crypto tool facing sanctions by the U.S. government specifically for its use by hackers to launder funds.
Ankr developers confirmed the hack last night shortly after it occurred. After requesting a halt on all relevant trades across the BNB Chain, Binance quickly obliged and halted withdrawals. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao says that the company has successfully frozen $3 million in assets linked to the hack.
Developers have already announced a tentative plan to repay investors affected by the hack. The network will mint a new, redeemable token called ankrBNB to investors, while simultaneously making aBNBc irredeemable.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.