While many cryptocoins seek to transcend conventional currency, the cryptocurrency Tether claims to back each of its issued tokens with an equal amount of redeemable cash held in a private reserve. That keeps its value predictable, but presents a problem if a token is stolen from one of the company’s “treasury” wallets. Today, Token’s development team has exactly 30,950,010 problems.
A company announcement states that $30 million (£22.64 million) in Tether was removed from a treasury wallet as part of a malicious attack and sent to an unauthorised Bitcoin address, but that “issuances have not been affected by this attack, and all Tether tokens remain fully backed by assets in the Tether reserve.” Tether’s team are attempting a sort of freeze on the stolen coins and issued a warning (emphasis ours):
The attacker is holding funds in the following address: 16tg2RJuEPtZooy18Wxn2me2RhUdC94N7r. If you receive any USDT tokens from the above address, or from any downstream address that receives these tokens, do not accept them, as they have been flagged and will not be redeemable by Tether for USD.
After reviewing the addresses of wallets used in the heist, some Redditors believe the culprit to be the same hacker or hackers responsible for stealing £3.77 million in Bitcoin from European exchange Bitstamp nearly three years ago.
Tether’s treasury was cleaned out a day after a shady ICO disappeared with over $370,000 in investor money and less than two weeks after $300 million (£226.41 million) in Ether was permanently locked by accident. As though it needed to be stressed any further: now is not the time to be the house of crypto futures.