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Hacker Steals 20 Million OP Tokens Following Address Error

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • A hacker stole 20 million OP tokens due to a mixup with an address.
  • The Optimism team had planned to send OP tokens to Wintermute for liquidity provision, but a wrong address led to the attacker stepping in and carrying out an exploit.
  • Optimism and Wintermute are working on fixing the issue, but the crypto community was critical.
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A hacker stole 20 million OP tokens, worth about $35 million, following a mistake with an address that was supposed to be sent to market maker Wintermute. The attacker has already sold one million of those tokens.

Ethereum Layer-2 scaling solution Optimism suffered a theft that resulted in 20 million OP tokens being stolen, the team announced in a blog post. The theft was a result of the team sending 20 million OP tokens that were allocated for a loan to Wintermute – but a mixup with an address resulted in a hacker stepping in and stealing the funds.

The team wanted to give users a better chance of acquiring OP tokens, and was working with market maker Wintermute to that end. However, after two test transactions, Wintemute said that they could not access the 20 million OP tokens that had been sent. This was because the address provided was for an Ethereum/L1 multisig address that had not yet been deployed to Optimism.

$35m worth of OP tokens stolen

Wintermute did try to start a recovery operation to deploy the L1 multisig contract to the same address on L2, but the attacker got there first. They deployed the L1 multisig to L2 with different initialization parameters, and stole the tokens. The total value of those tokens, at the time of theft, was $35 million. One million of those tokens have been sold.

Wintermute has said that it plans to buy back the stolen tokens by monitoring the hacker’s address. The Optimism Foundation has also created a grant of 20 million OP tokens to Wintermute so that liquidity provision can take place.

The Optimism team also emphasizes that they could use a network upgrade to halt the movement of the tokens, but will not do so “due to the precedent it would set.” The team explained the situation in the interest of transparency, but there is no doubt that some damage has been done.

The first hiccup for an otherwise successful endeavor

Optimism’s OP token airdrop and the new governance system have received much praise. The crypto community was pleased to see a pioneering governance model introduced, besides having conviction in the scaling solution itself.

But with the hack, there has been a change among some in the community, who criticized the response to the incident. One user on Twitter pointed out that there was a 15-hour gap between the test transaction and the real one. Others made similar comments, saying that the response was not adequate.

Optimism has made a lot of positive headlines in the past few months, and perhaps the good news could not last forever. The team said that such incidents were growing pains of an evolving industry.


In adherence to the Trust Project guidelines, BeInCrypto is committed to unbiased, transparent reporting. This news article aims to provide accurate, timely information. However, readers are advised to verify facts independently and consult with a professional before making any decisions based on this content.

Rahul Nambiampurath
Rahul Nambiampurath's cryptocurrency journey first began in 2014 when he stumbled upon Satoshi's Bitcoin whitepaper. With a bachelor's degree in Commerce and an MBA in Finance...