KuCoin Hack Shows Key Difference Between Altcoins and Bitcoin
Unprecedented" moves by altcoins in the aftermath of the KuCoin hack showed that the old adage "not your keys, not your coins" might be true in the case of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) only.
As reported, following several abnormal transactions first noticed on September 25, KuCoin experienced a leakage of its private keys tied with its hot wallets, which resulted in a hack of millions USD worth of customer funds. Per an update by the KuCoin team, with the release of additional suspicious addresses, it now seems that there's been more than USD 200 million in funds lost, and it could go higher if more such addresses are revealed. What the updates also revealed is that, a number of projects have swapped, frozen, invalidated, or otherwise 'interfered' with their tokens, as well as the token transfers. Such activities include:
- Ampleforth (AMPL) disabling transfers from the attacker (AMPL 14m (USD 9.5m))
- Tether freezing a total of 22m USDT tokens
- VIDT_Datalink (VIDT) freezing the 14.5m tokens (USD 6.2m) transferred to the suspicious address
- Covesting (COV) freezing 3.12m tokens (USD 563,000)
- Velo Labs (VELO) announcing re-deployment and replacement of each of the VELO tokens transferred to the suspicious address – VELO 122m (USD 71.65m) affected will be invalidated
- Silent Notary (SNTR) re-issuing new SNTR, and replacing 78.9bn affected SNTR tokens (USD 99,000)
- NOIA Network (NOIA) reissuing NOIA via a new smart contract, replacing the NOIA 81m (USD 3m) affected; it has completed the token swap
- Aleph.im (ALEPH) re-issuing the tokens via a new smart contract, rendering obsolete the previous tokens, including some 8.5m stolen tokens (USD 1.25m)
- Orion (ORN) completing the token swap of ORN 3.82m (USD 8.98m)
- KardiaChain (KAI) completing the token swap of KAO 525m (USD 9.2m)
- Opacity (OPQ) accelerating the planned token swap.
"The market has shown unprecedented reaction to recent KuCoin hack," commented ICO Analytics. However, these are also moves that many argue can't be made with BTC. "If you can freeze it, it isn't 'crypto'," said Growth lead at major crypto exchange Kraken, Dan Held. "It’s completely fucking centralized." Changpeng Zhao, CEO of another major crypto exchange Binance, however, used the chance to reiterate his previous statements that decentralization is not "binary black or white," but that the reality is "usually a bit more grey." After Binance was hacked in May of 2019, Zhao also mentioned a possibility to roll back some of the BTC transactions in order to recover the lost funds and "teach [hackers] a lesson." This prompted a heated debate in the Cryptoverse, showing that, in theory, this would be technically possible but it would be as likely as "all miners stop mining Bitcoin and let it die" because "there’s a huge collective incentive to not change history."
Also, after the infamous Ethereum (ETH) DAO hack in 2016, the ETH community controversially decided to hardfork the ETH blockchain in order to restore virtually all funds to the original contract and return DAO token holders’ ether. Meanwhile, the above-mentioned projects have made their arguably centralized moves faster than a traditional, centralized authority is often able to – which speaks both of the technology's superiority in a way, but also of the potentially worrying fact that it's possible for an individual / team to make these decisions and exert this much control over the project in the first place. It can be argued then, that the only thing that stands between the projects using their power for something that could be interpreted as a good cause (e.g. stopping a hacker) and using it for their own 'not as good' goals is the benevolence of the authority.
Article Produced By
Sead is a staff journalist at Cryptonews.com who covers cryptocurrency and blockchain news daily, writes analysis pieces, tests blockchain and cryptocurrency products. He's based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Prior to joining Cryptonews.com he was a freelance, also was a journalist for Al Jazeera web. He spends his free time in music studios, recording songs for movies and cinema. Loves to break gadgets so he could fix them, enjoys exploring new music and loves tasty and equally unhealthy food.
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