First Mover Americas: Curve Finance Exploit Puts More Than $100M of Crypto at Risk

The latest price moves in crypto markets in context for July 31, 2023.

AccessTimeIconJul 31, 2023 at 12:52 p.m. UTC
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Curve, a stablecoin-focused decentralized exchange (DEX), was the victim of an exploit late Sunday according to a tweet from the project. Curve relies on smart contracts instead of middlemen to offer financial services such as stablecoin borrowing, trading and lending to users. Upwards of $100 million worth of cryptocurrency are at risk due to a “re-entrancy” bug in Vyper, a programming language used to power parts of the Curve system. Several stablecoin pools on the platform — used for pricing and liquidity on a number of different DeFi services — have been drained by hackers so far, though the amount was unclear at press time. BlockSec, a blockchain auditing firm, estimated total losses above $42 million in a preliminary analysis posted to Twitter. While CRV, the DEX’s native token, was trading down 12% over the last 24 hours per Coinbase, it has interestingly surged 500% on South Korea-based digital assets exchange Bithumb.

Layer 2 chain Optimism’s native token OP surged higher on Monday, gaining 9% on the day, outperforming the CoinDesk Market Index (CMI), which was roughly flat on the session. The advance for OP comes as Base – an Optimism-based Coinbase-built layer 2 scaling chain – has seen an increase in transaction activity related to meme coins, including BALD, a newly-launched meme coin on Base reaching a market cap of $85 million late on Sunday. The Optimism network also saw a spike in transaction volume last week after OpenAI's Worldcoin launched on the network. The gains in transaction volume for Optimism meant it surpassed its rival Arbitrum for the first time in six months, according to Dune Analytics.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked Coinbase (COIN) to stop trading in all cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin prior to suing the crypto exchange, CEO Brian Armstrong told the Financial Times. “We believe every asset other than bitcoin is a security,” said the SEC, according to Armstrong, who added that the agency declined to disclose its reasoning behind that conclusion. “We really didn’t have a choice at that point,” said Armstrong. “It would have essentially meant the end of the crypto industry in the U.S … Let’s go to court and find out what the court says.” On June 6, the SEC charged Coinbase with breaching federal securities law, alleging that it was simultaneously operating as a broker, an exchange and a clearinghouse for unregistered securities. Coinbase shot back saying the SEC's action violates due process and constitutes an abuse of discretion.

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  • Among the many offshoots of Bitcoin, bitcoin gold (BTG), has risen 37% in the past 24 hours to $19, its highest single-day gain since July 2022.
  • The rally's exact reason is unknown, but the move appears to be a part of renewed investor interest in smaller tokens, including meme cryptocurrencies.
  • Smaller tokens, in general, are less liquid. A few buy/sell orders tend to have an outsized impact on the going market rate.

- Omkar Godbole

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Edited by Stephen Alpher.

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CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Lyllah Ledesma

Lyllah Ledesma is a CoinDesk Markets reporter currently based in Europe. She holds bitcoin, ether and small amounts of other crypto assets.

Omkar Godbole

Omkar Godbole is a Co-Managing Editor on CoinDesk's Markets team.


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