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The Notorious Hacker Returns $62.8M in ETH Without Ransom

No ransom: Munchables executive detects the hackers, negotiates the return of stolen crypto 

The Ethereum-based NFT game Munchables was hit by a significant security breach on March 26, around 9:30 pm UTC, leading to a loss of over 17,400 ETH, valued at approximately $62.8 million. This alarming incident put the spotlight on the vulnerabilities within the GameFi app, prompting an immediate response from the Munchables team alongside blockchain investigators, PeckShield and ZachXBT, to track the stolen funds.

The breach was traced back to an internal source when Munchables identified one of its developers as the perpetrator. Remarkably, within hours of the discovery, a series of negotiations began, culminating in the developer agreeing to return the stolen assets without any demands for ransom. 

Munchables stated: 

“The Munchables developer has shared all private keys involved to assist in recovering the user funds. Specifically, the key which holds $62,535,441.24 USD, the key which holds 73 WETH, and the owner key which contains the rest of the funds.”

This swift resolution highlights the effectiveness of the crypto community's collaborative efforts in addressing cybersecurity threats, setting a precedent for handling such breaches in the future.

Recovery and aftermath: strengthening community trust

The incident not only showcased the swift and effective actions of blockchain investigators but also underlined the importance of internal vigilance within crypto projects. Pacman, the creator of the Ethereum layer-2 blockchain Blast, upon which Munchables is built, expressed gratitude towards ZachXBT for his crucial support in the matter, stating: 

“the ex-Munchables dev opted to return all funds in the end without any ransom required.”

Following this resolution, efforts are now focused on redistributing the recovered funds to the affected parties, with the Munchables team and Pacman working closely to ensure transparency and accuracy in the process. This event has also served as a stark reminder for the community to adhere strictly to communications from official sources, guarding against potential refund scams.

In parallel, the broader crypto world continues to fortify its defenses, as seen with the ParaSwap hack resolution.