Cryptocurrency exchanges Binance & Huobi recover $2.5M in stolen BTC from $100M Harmony Protocol hack

Key Takeaways:

  • Cryptocurrency exchange Binance identified and froze the accounts of the Harmony Protocol hacker
  • Binance also informed rival exchange Huobi about the same when the hacker tried to launder funds there
  • The funds in question were a part of the $100 million stolen from the Harmony Protocol last June
Cryptocurrency exchanges Binance & Huobi recovered $2.5 million in stolen BTC from last year's $100M Harmony Protocol hack
Harmony protocol hackers tried to launder another $2.5 million through Binance and Huobi. Photo by Benjamin Lehman

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) — Cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Huobi have frozen funds connected to the $100 million hack on the Harmony Protocol last summer.

According to reports, the alleged hacker tried to launder the money through these exchanges but was detected and stopped. As a result, the exchanges recovered 124 Bitcoin (BTC) tokens valued at approximately $2.5 million.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao “CZ” was among the first to share the news. According to him, Binance helped Huobi to identify the hacker and freeze his account. They had earlier tried to launder the stolen crypto assets through Binance.

“We detected Harmony One hacker fund movement. They previously tried to launder through Binance and we froze his accounts. This time he used Huobi. We assisted Huobi team to freeze his accounts. Together, 124 BTC have been recovered.”  

Zhao tweeted.

Tron (TRX) founder and Huobi’s advisor Justin Sun confirmed the news. He further thanked Binance for their collaboration in thwarting the money laundering scheme.

 Huobi's advisor and TRON founder Justin Sun thanked Binance and confirmed that the crypto exchange froze the funds from Harmony Protocol hack.
Huobi’s advisor and TRON founder Justin Sun confirmed that the crypto exchange froze the stolen Bitcoin.

Before Binance and Huobi confirmed the development, on-chain crypto sleuth ZachXBT had tweeted that North Korea’s Lazarus Group had sent 41,000 Ethereum (ETH) tokens from the Harmony Horizon Bridge hack worth about $64 million over the weekend.

The crypto detective also published a list of over 350 addresses linked to the attackers. 

“Seems Binance and Huobi froze a portion of the funds,” 

ZachXBT later wrote, sharing CZ’s announcement.

As CoinChapter earlier reported, the Lazarus Group is believed to be state-sponsored and backed by the North Korean regime. 

Recommended: Bitcoin (BTC) fair value in 2023 is $84K

What was the Harmon Protocol hack? 

On June 24, 2022, an exploit on the Harmony Protocol’s Horizon bridge resulted in a loss of $100 million. The stolen funds were reportedly in stablecoins such as Tether (USDT), USD Coin (USDC), Wrapped Ethereum (WETH), AAVE, SUSHI, and DAI. The hackers then swapped them for Ethereum.

Days later, blockchain security and data analytics firm PechShield reported that the hackers had begun loundering millions in the stolen funds via crypto mixer Tornado Cash.

Cryptocurrency exchanges Binance & Huobi recovered $2.5 million in stolen BTC from last year's $100M Harmony Protocol hack
Harmony Protocol had offered a $1 million reward to the hacker last year.

As CoinChapter reported then, the team behind Harmony Protocol offered a $1 million reward for the return of $100 million in stolen altcoins. The offer also stood for information that would help recover the lost funds.

In addition, they also promised not to pursue legal action and “will advocate for no criminal charges” if the hackers return the funds. 

However, the generous reward did not catch the fancy of the hacker. Therefore, they continue to hold on to their exploits, trying every way possible to extract the amount. 

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