Fan mail and ETH tips sent to KyberSwap hacker who stole $48M


Some victims of the $48 million KyberSwap hack are no doubt waiting anxiously for the DeFi platform’s attacker to make their next move.

Others, though, seem to be taking a more proactive approach: talk directly to the exploiter through the Ethereum blockchain.

“Hello! You did amazing job, you are amazing man!” one person wrote in a message attached to a transaction overnight.

“Im drained for over $155k USDC, you can check my wallet. Could you please send some $ to help my family? I can get you the funds into any wallet just help me out please! :(.”

Other messages are much more formal: “Hello sir/madam! I was lp [liquidity provider] on [Arbitrum] — 259809.7 DAI.”

“I would like to negotiate, and ask how much would you be willing to take as a bounty? I believe code is law, and its totally up to you. Thanks in advance!”

KyberSwap aggregates liquidity across DeFi into a single pool, enabling services such as decentralized exchanges and wallets to offer end-users instant token swaps through a web of smart contracts.

Chain watchers first spotted something was up with KyberSwap on Wednesday evening. Millions of dollars in crypto were suddenly siphoned from KyberSwap contracts deployed to Ethereum, Polygon, Coinbase’s Base, Arbitrum and Optimism, with the latter two hardest hit.

A complicated series of flash loan attacks and other targeted exploits had resulted in emptied token liquidity pools.

KyberSwap responded by urging users to pull funds from the platform, with about $77 million quickly withdrawn. Now, less than $8 million is kept with KyberSwap, per DeFiLlama.

So far, the stash remains in the hacker’s various addresses. After the attack subsided, the hacker initiated a transaction with the following message: 

“Dear Kyberswap Developers, Employees, DAO members and LPs, Negotiations will start in a few hours when I am fully rested.” 

That was about a day and 18 hours ago. Nothing since.

Ethereum allows messages to be added to the input data field when sending transactions. This one cost about $2.

While some messages tell the hacker they could keep some of the crypto if they return the rest, it’s unclear whether notes like “if that money are gone my children can school anymore, because don’t have money again, please help me” are legitimate stories from real victims.

Some messages are more lighthearted: One says: “hi. congrats for the hit thats a crazy thing, you looks like a smart, arrogant & funny guy, could we talk in telegram or else? :)”

Another: “Hi legend pls send me 1mill to become the top g for life, thx love u”

There are others that offer advice: “I don’t know what you want to do next, but just want to remind that stablecoins like USDC have an address blocking function in the smart contract code.” A few even apparently sent tips, including some for 0.001 ETH ($2.06) and one for 0.0000069 ETH ($0.014).

Often hackers wait days, months, or even years before attempting to launder stolen crypto. Sometimes, the hacker returns the funds after taking 10% or 20%, playing off the whole thing as a gray-hat stunt.

Who knows where the Kyber case will end up. 

Whether it’s real or pretend, this message is still sad

In any case, it wasn’t bad enough that Ethereum network participants had to cryptographically verify the integrity of CryptoDickButts and Pixelverse Poops.

Now, they must forever ensure nonsense like, “Could you teach me your ways senpai? I too would like to make generational wealth in seconds please,” remains untampered-with, forever written to the blockchain. Great.

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