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Hacker Optimism returns 17 million OP tokens to the project

The hacker returned 17 million OP tokens to the Optimism Foundation in multiple on-chain transactions, security firm PeckShield said.

Ethereum Layer 2 Solutions posted an update on Friday confirming that the attacker behind the incident returned 17 million of the 20 million tokens OP stole this week. Earlier, Optimism announced that Wintermute had accidentally lost 20 million OP tokens due to an Ethereum wallet error.

Optimism has funded a liquidity service to help market participants seek to trade the recently launched OP token on centralized exchanges. However, when Wintermute deployed the Gnosis Safe wallet on the Ethereum mainnet without checking if it was deployed on Optimism, an attacker successfully took control of the layer 2 wallet and stole the funds.

On-chain data shows that the attacker began returning funds to Optimism’s wallet in a series of transactions late Friday afternoon. They also sent 1 million tokens to Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin on Thursday, which Optimism has confirmed “is being reinstated.” Interestingly, the attacker also left a message for Buterin in an Ethereum transaction.

With 18 million tokens sent to Optimism and Buterin, the project accepts that the hacker keeps 2 million OPs as a “flaw detection reward“, and claims Wintermute will compensate the entire amount.

OP is up 9.8% today despite the market-wide decline. According to data from CoinGecko, the token is currently trading at around $0.91.