Non-custodial crypto exchange ChangeNOW reported that it stopped suspicious ALGO and Algorand-based USDC transactions totaling about $1.5 million, safeguarding them for further investigation.
ChangeNOW’s anti-money laundering and risk-prevention system blocked $1.5 million in suspicious transactions in ALGO and USDC on February 19. ChangeNOW identified them as associated with reported Algorand exploits that resulted in over 13 million stolen ALGO. The exchange has committed to working with law enforcement to return the victims’ funds.
A total of 13.3 million of ALGO, nearly $3.6 million, was stolen from 12 Algorand accounts, according to AlgoDaddy. It cited the founder of Algorand-focused developer collective D13.co as saying there are too many affected accounts for it to be a coincidence, but not enough to suggest mass exploitation.
As the story gained traction in the crypto media, CTO of Algorand Foundation John Woods posted on Twitter to assure users that the theft was not caused by a technical problem with the Algorand protocol. In addition, he said that the team is working individually with affected users to figure out what happened.
The question remains whether the funds were hijacked by hackers or if users divulged their seed phrase to a counterfeit website.
ChangeNOW informed Crypto Daily that three transactions worth $1.5 million had been halted: 300,000 ALGO tokens, as well as 600,000 and 829,000 in Algorand-based USDC stablecoins.
Among other recoveries, ChangeNOW has previously been able to retrieve $15 million in COMP tokens mistakenly distributed by Compound, as well as $1 million in MATIC tokens stolen from Eterbase in 2020. Including this latest case, over $20.5 million has been prevented from fraud and hacking losses thanks to ChangeNOW’s AML and risk-prevention initiatives.
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