In a dramatic turn of events, the hacker behind the $196 million exploit on the lending protocol Euler Finance has returned the majority of the stolen assets. According to on-chain data, on March 25th, the exploiter returned 51,000 ETH and 7,737 ETH worth over $101 million at the time of writing. The hacker had previously sent 3,000 ETH to the protocol on March 18th, worth nearly $5.4 million at the time. However, the exploiter still controls some of the stolen assets.
The Euler Finance hack took place on March 13th, when the hacker carried out multiple transactions, stealing nearly $196 million from the protocol in a flash loan attack. This attack is considered the largest decentralized finance (DeFi) hack of 2023. The stolen assets included 8.8 million Dai (DAI), 849,000 Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), 85 million Staked Ether (stETH), and 34 million USD Coin (USDC).
After a few days, the hacker sent an on-chain message to Euler Finance, calling for an agreement with the protocol. In the message, they stated that they had “no intention of keeping what is not ours” and that they wanted to make things easy on those affected. The protocol had previously tried to negotiate with the exploiter, requesting that they return 90% of the stolen funds within 24 hours or face legal action. However, no response was received, and Euler Finance offered a $1 million bounty reward for any information leading to the capture of the exploiter.
The hacker has made other transactions, including a transfer of 1,000 ETH Smart Staking (NETH) worth approximately $1.65 million at the time, through sanctioned crypto mixer Tornado Cash. However, blockchain analytics firm PeckShield reported that around 100 ETH was sent to a wallet address likely owned by one of the victims. An on-chain message sent by the wallet address had earlier pleaded for the attacker to return their “life savings.”
The return of the majority of the stolen funds is good news for Euler Finance and its users, but the incident highlights the need for better security measures in the DeFi space. Despite the growing popularity of DeFi, the industry remains vulnerable to hacks and exploits. The Euler Finance hack is just the latest in a series of high-profile attacks on DeFi protocols, and it is a stark reminder that investors must remain vigilant and cautious when participating in DeFi.