Binance forced to briefly halt transactions following $100 million blockchain hack

Binance temporarily suspended money transfers and other transactions Thursday night after discovering an exploit on its Smart Chain (BSC) blockchain network. According to early reports, hackers stole more than $500 million worth of cryptocurrency, but Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that the company estimates the impact of the breach to be between $100 million and $110 million. A total of $7 million had already been frozen.

The cryptocurrency exchange also reassured users on Reddit that their funds are safe. As Zhao explained, an exploit on the BSC Token Hub cross-chain bridge, which enables the transfer of cryptocurrency and digital assets such as NFTs from one blockchain to another, “resulted in additional BNB” or Binance Coin. That could mean the bad actors minted new BNBs and then removed the equivalent of around $100 million off the blockchain instead of stealing people’s actual funds. Corresponding Beeping computerThe hacker quickly distributed the stolen cryptocurrency to convert it into other assets, but it’s unclear if they succeeded.

Zhao said the problem has been contained. The Smart Chain network also has started running again – with fixes to prevent hackers from getting in – so users may be able to resume their transactions soon. Cross-chain bridge hacks have become a top security risk in recent times, and this incident is just one of many. Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis reported back in August that an estimated $2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen in 13 cross-chain bridge hacks. This year alone, about 69 percent of that sum was stolen.

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