Tether (USDT), the company that manages the USDT token that is tied to US dollar deposits, reported on November 20th that almost $31 million dollars worth of the tokens were stolen from the official Tether Treasury wallet the day before. The company describes this action as having been done “…through malicious action by an external attacker”.
Multiple news outlets reported an impact on Bitcoin prices following the announcement of the hack. The impact was short-lived, however, as prices quickly recovered and continued to push against the upper boundaries of previously established all-time highs. A few days after the incident, Tether prices have remained close to the US dollar, with no significant decrease in valuation. This implies that support for the tokens has not dropped significantly.
One intrepid Reddit user has compiled a timeline of the hacker who targetted Tether, and previous hacks they have completed. According to Redditor SpeedflyChris, the hacker is also responsible for the theft of 19000 Bitcoin from Bitstamp in January of 2015. That amount in today’s valuation would be more than $150 million dollars.
SpeedflyChris also suggests this same hacker may be responsible for additional large thefts including a theft of 12000 Bitcoin from the Chinese exchange Huobi. Between these two hacks and the additional $31 million stolen from Tether, would total to just under $300 million.
Tether took several measures in response to the hacks. First, they temporarily froze their exchange, including deposits and withdrawals of US dollars. Second, they marked the stolen tokens, and stated that they would not be redeemable for dollars. Finally, the company reassured customers that the hack would have no impact on Tether validity and that the reserved remained “fully backed by assets in the Tether reserve.”
Based on both Tether and Bitcoin prices, it is safe to say that these measures were successful. While some have suggested that Tether may perform a hard fork in order to fully de-legitimize the stolen tokens, this is yet to be seen.