Solana’s Cypher Protocol Hit by Insider Theft: Developer Gambles Away $300,000

Solana SOL

Cypher Protocol, a decentralized exchange (DEX) built on the Solana blockchain, is reeling from a self-inflicted wound. Hoak, a pseudonymous core developer, publicly confessed to stealing nearly $300,000 worth of user funds and gambling them away.

This bombshell revelation comes just months after Cypher suffered a major hack in August 2023, resulting in over $1 million lost. The latest incident, however, adds a layer of betrayal to the DEX’s struggles.

Hoak’s Gambling Addiction Fuels Theft

In a public statement, Hoak admitted full responsibility, attributing his actions to a “crippling gambling addiction.” On-chain data compiled by another developer, Cobra, revealed a series of 36 withdrawals over several months, totaling $317,000 in SOL, USDT, and USDC. These funds were eventually transferred to a Binance exchange address linked to Hoak.

The stolen funds trickled out gradually, with Hoak’s wallet holding a peak balance of $68,365 in December 2023 before depleting. This incident raises questions about internal security protocols and highlights the potential vulnerabilities within DeFi platforms.

Summary of stolen funds. Source: Cobra

Crypto Gambling and Addiction Concerns

Hoak’s confession reignites concerns about gambling addiction within the cryptocurrency space. The industry’s volatile nature and potential for quick gains can be enticing for those struggling with gambling issues. A 2023 YouGov survey found that individuals exhibiting “harmful levels” of gambling were nearly five times more likely to own cryptocurrency compared to the general population.

This correlation underscores the need for crypto platforms to implement responsible gambling practices and resources to help vulnerable users. Additionally, Hoak’s case strengthens the arguments of regulators like SEC Chair Gary Gensler, who have likened certain aspects of crypto to the “Wild West” with casino-like behavior.

Cypher’s Uncertain Future

The theft adds another hurdle to Cypher’s recovery efforts after the August hack. The DEX’s future remains uncertain as it grapples with both internal security breaches and a potentially damaged reputation. Cypher has yet to comment on the situation or reveal any plans to compensate affected users.

Also Read: Sonne Finance Hacked for $20 Million in DeFi Exploit

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent risks involved in decentralized finance. While Cypher attempts to navigate this crisis, the crypto industry must address the issue of gambling addiction within its user base and prioritize robust security measures to prevent similar insider thefts.

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