Maiar decentralized crypto exchange goes offline after bug discovery

The Maiar Exchange, a decentralized exchange (DEX) native to the Elrond blockchain, has been temporarily taken offline after an attacker utilized an exploit and made off with roughly $113 million worth of Elrond eGold (EGLD).

Minutes before 12:00 am UTC on Monday, the co-founder and CEO of Elrond, Beniamin Mincu, tweeted that he and his team were “investigating a set of suspicious activities” on the Maiar decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.

Soon after, the DEX was taken offline, with Mincu reporting that the issue had been identified and an “emergency fix” was being implemented.

In a Twitter thread posted almost 24 hours later at around 11:00 pm UTC on Monday, Mincu said a potentially critical bug was identified that opened “an exploit area that we simply had to address and mitigate immediately.”

The suspicious activities have been possibly identified and explained in a Twitter thread by pseudonymous on-chain analyst Foudres, who revealed that the potential attacker deployed a smart contract that somehow allowed them to withdraw over 1.65 million EGLD.

Three wallets were able to mysteriously withdraw 800,000, 400,000 and 450,000 EGLD, respectively, which at current prices is worth nearly $113 million in total.

The attackers were able to sell around 800,000 EGLD, worth around $54 million, which caused the price of EGLD on Maiar to plummet from $76 down to around $5. The rest of the crypto is either still held in various wallets, has been bridged to USD Coin (USDC) and Ether (ETH), or was sold on centralized exchanges.

The price of EGLD dropped 9.5% from around $74 down to a 24-hour low of $65.50 but has since slightly recovered, now trading near $68.

Mincu stated in his update that an upgrade was implemented to fix the bug and a technical explanation would be provided after clarification that the implemented solutions are tested and working.

Related: DeFi attacks are on the rise — Will the industry be able to stem the tide?

He claimed that all funds are safe and will be available when the DEX restarts, which is scheduled for Tuesday, saying most exploited funds have been either recovered in full or will be covered by the Elrond Foundation.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, approximately $1.6 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen from decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms in the first quarter of 2022, and over 90% of all stolen crypto is from hacked decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols such as DEXs.