Exploiter Returns 17 Million Stolen Optimism Tokens

The hacker that stole 20 million OP tokens from Optimism has now returned the vast majority of his ill-begotten funds. Public blockchain data shows that he’s made 17 transfers of 1 million OP each to the Optimism contract address.

  • According to Etherscan, all 17 transfers of OP were made in short order. The first was at 12:09 pm UTC, with the last at 12:31 pm UTC on Friday.
  • The returned funds do not represent all tokens that the attacker stole, however. He is still 3 million OP short of the 20 million he nabbed during Optimism’s failed transaction to Wintermute.
  • Wintermute – a cryptocurrency market maker – was supposed to provide liquidity provisioning services for the newly airdropped OP token. The token provides participation rights to members of the layer 2 protocol’s two-tier governance structure.
  • However, a complication occurred in which Optimism sent the funds from its layer-2 address to Wintermute’s layer 1 address. This led to the funds being locked away from either party.
  • An opportunistic attacker stole the coins shortly after and sold off about 1 million tokens in short order. Interestingly, he then sent about 1 million tokens to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and delegated voting rights for those tokens to Yoav Weiss of the Ethereum Foundation.
  • The next day, the anonymous thief sent another 1 million OP to Vitalik and offered the developer his respect. He then asked for advice on what to do with the tokens, feeling sorry about the theft.
  • He claimed to only have 18 million tokens remaining which he could return. So far he’s returned 17 million, with 1 million still on his address balance.

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