Optimism, the company known for its Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution, lost 20 million of its OP token in the process of preparing for the token’s initial launch. The value of lost tokens, now in possession of an anonymous hacker, amounts to some $35 million.
OP is the native token for the Optimism Collective DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). This blockchain-based collective votes on decisions relevant to the future development of Optimism.
Optimism cooperated with the market maker firm Wintermute. The market maker’s job was to efficiently distribute 20 million tokens in an airdrop tied to the OP token’s launch. Unfortunately, after Optimism sent the tokens to Wintermute, it turned out that the tokens were inaccessible.
Being a layer-2 scaling solution formed on top of the Ethereum platform, Optimism allows for faster transactions. However, there’s also more risk involved. In this case, Optimism sent the tokens to Wintermute’s layer-1 Ethereum address, which has not yet been deployed or synced to Optimism’s layer-2 address.
This not only made the tokens inaccessible, but also made them vulnerable to theft. The anonymous hacker who stole the tokens traded 1 million OP for ETH (Ether; Ethereum’s token), while so far keeping the other 19 million tokens.
Wintermute has committed to buying back all the tokens. The company also claims to have relevant information on the hacker’s identity. Wintermute is threatening to turn the hacker over to law enforcement unless he returns the stolen tokens in a week’s time. In an effort to lure the hacker out, Wintermute has promised him a consulting position if he returns the tokens, as they were impressed by the attack’s level of proficiency.