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Ankr exploit: $aBNBc price falls 99.51% as aBNB token hit with million-dollar attack

By Darius McQuaid

Edited by Charlie Mellor

12:24, 2 December 2022

Crypto hacker
Following a hack, DeFi protocol Ankr has said that underlying assets used for staking are safe – Photo: Getty Images

BNB Chain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) protocol Ankr has been hit with a multi-million-dollar hack.   

Ankr reported via Twitter that its aBNB token had been exploited on 2 December 2022 and Ankr was working with crypto exchanges to “immediately halt trading”.

It went on to say it was drafting a plan and was “committed to compensating affected users”.

Blockchain security company PeckShield actually broke the news an hour earlier than Ankr and revealed that the hacker was able to mint 20 trillion ankr reward bearing staked BNB (aBNBc) a reward-bearing token for BNB staked on the protocol.

PeckShield added that some of the stolen funds were transferred to the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash.

However, on-chain analysis firm Lookonchain suggested the exploiter dumped all 20 trillion tokens on Pancake Swap.

Lookonchain stated that the hacker had then successfully exchanged the stolen funds for more than five million in usd coin (USDC).

BTC/USD

64,676.00 Price
-2.100% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 106.00

DOGE/USD

0.12 Price
-6.610% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.0012872

ETH/USD

3,115.97 Price
-7.790% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0616%
Short position overnight fee 0.0137%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 6.00

XRP/USD

0.61 Price
-4.120% 1D Chg, %
Long position overnight fee -0.0753%
Short position overnight fee 0.0069%
Overnight fee time 21:00 (UTC)
Spread 0.01168

As of 09:32am GMT on 2 December, aBNBc was trading at $1.51, down 99.51% compared with the previous day, according to CoinMarketCap.

USDC to USD 

Binance’s response

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Binance later tweeted that a “possible” hack has taken place. Zhao added: “Initial analysis is developer private key was hacked, and the hacker updated the smart contract to a more malicious one.”

Binance’s BNB Chain also added; “We are aware of the attack on Ankr’s aBNBc, which lead to a substantial amount of new aBNBc being minted.

“The exploiter has been blacklisted. Our community is on top of it, coordinating a response. We will provide more updates as they become available.”

Ankr attempted to reassure users following the hack. It said: “All underlying assets on Ankr staking are safe and all infrastructure services are unaffected.”

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The difference between trading assets and CFDs
The main difference between CFD trading and trading assets, such as commodities and stocks, is that you don’t own the underlying asset when you trade on a CFD.
You can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss if it moves against you. However, with traditional trading you enter a contract to exchange the legal ownership of the individual shares or the commodities for money, and you own this until you sell it again.
CFDs are leveraged products, which means that you only need to deposit a percentage of the full value of the CFD trade in order to open a position. But with traditional trading, you buy the assets for the full amount. In the UK, there is no stamp duty on CFD trading, but there is when you buy stocks, for example.
CFDs attract overnight costs to hold the trades (unless you use 1-1 leverage), which makes them more suited to short-term trading opportunities. Stocks and commodities are more normally bought and held for longer. You might also pay a broker commission or fees when buying and selling assets direct and you’d need somewhere to store them safely.
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