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Web3 Daily Dose: North Korean Hackers Launder Crypto Cash, Yuga Labs Founder Steps Down, Azuki Hacked & More

4 min read

This article is for general information purposes only and isn’t intended to be financial product advice. You should always obtain your own independent advice before making any financial decisions. The Chainsaw and its contributors aren’t liable for any decisions based on this content.



Gm! Here’s the top crypto & Web3 news you need to know this morning:

  • North Korean hackers laundered US$27 million worth of crypto over the weekend.
  • Yuga Labs Founder Wylie Aronow is taking a leave absence for health reasons.
  • Anime-inspired NFT project Azuki was hacked for US$750,000.
  • The Justice Department wants Sam Bankman-Fried to get off his phone.

North Korean hackers keep shifting funds

A consortium of North Korean hackers, who the FBI claims were behind the 100-million-dollar Harmony Bridge attack in June 2022 continue to launder their stolen funds.

According to blockchain detective ZachXBT, the hackers moved another US$27 million in Ethereum (ETH) to their own wallets over the weekend.

According to the on-chain sleuth, the Ethereum tokens were transferred to six different crypto exchanges. While ZachXBT didn’t reveal which platforms had received the transfers, he said that the exchanges had been notified about the transfer and much of the stolen assets were subsequently frozen.

The recent money laundering moves bore a striking resemblance to the patterns used by hackers earlier this month when they laundered another US$60 million on January 13.

Yuga Labs founder takes leave of absence

Wylie Aronow, the founder of Yuga Labs — the company behind some of Web3’s most successful NFT collections like Bored Ape Yacht Club and CryptoPunks — has decided to take a leave of absence after receiving a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.

In a Saturday tweet, Aronow said that the unfortunate decision to take a leave of absence comes as the symptoms around his heart condition became gradually worse over the last few months.

Aronow reassured the Web3 community that while the condition is serious and will render him unable to work for the time being, the symptoms are still “mild” but need a series of major lifestyle changes to be addressed.

I can go on walks, travel, and live a mostly normal life. But the condition is progressing pretty fast and that means I need to make some serious changes.

Wylie Aronow, Yuga Labs founder

He said that after losing “much of his twenties” to chronic illness, and didn’t want to waste any more time after founding Yuga Labs. “I pushed myself way past my limits. I worked 12 hours a day, nearly every day,” he explained in a comment and said that he should have listened to those around him that wanted him to seek more in the way of balance.

Aronow confirmed that he will be remain as a board member and strategic advisor at Yuga Labs.

Web3 News: Azuki’s Official Twitter account was hacked for $750k

Unfortunately for holders of the anime-inspired Azuki NFT project, a tweet about a “surprise mint” for its upcoming metaverse game turned out to be a scam.

Hackers overtook the official Azuki Twitter account and began posting malicious links, luring in users with a surprise mint, that was actually a link to a wallet draining app.

The hackers worked quickly. In less than 30 minutes, US$750,000 worth of USDC, 11 NFTs, and around 4 ETH were stolen through the series of links posted from the account of the popular NFT project.

After a number of users became suspicious of the tweets, third-party crypto watchdogs began to alert members of the Web3 community that these posts were fraudulent. In less than an hour, the malicious tweets were taken deleted from the official Azuki Twitter account and the team said that they were now “on top of the situation”.

Web3 News: Federal Prosecutors want SBF off his phone

On Friday evening, Federal prosecutors wrote a letter to US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, asking that that he modify the conditions of Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail to include a ban on all private communications with FTX employees.

The Justice Departments’ request comes following the revelation that disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly reached out FTX employees in an attempt to potentially influence their witness testimonies in the future.

One such employee, identified as Ryne Miller, the current general counsel for the US arm of FTX, received a message from Bankman-Fried on the encrypted messaging app Signal where the crypto founder requested to share resources and “vet things” for one another.

“I would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” SBF said to Miller.

The Justice Department further alleged that SBF and Miller were part of a group chat of FTX insiders where senior FTX employees sent each other messages during the November collapse of the exchange.

“In those messages, among other things, [Bankman-Fried] gave instructions for liquidating Alameda’s investments to satisfy FTX customer withdrawals, and indicated that he transferred approximately US$45 million dollars of Alamedas funds to FTX US to fill an apparent hole in FTX US’s balance sheet.”

If this claim is true, then SBF’s claims that FTX US had been solvent at all times is demonstrably false.

And that’s all the Web3 news you need to start your day.