Binance has frozen withdrawals of a crypto linked to its own token that looks like it's been hacked, CEO 'CZ' says




changpeng zhao binance ceo
changpeng zhao binance ceo  
  • Binance froze withdrawals of a staked Ankr protocol token Friday.

  • The exchange's chief executive Changpeng Zhao said the crypto could have been targeted by hackers.

  • The Ankr coin's price crashed 99.5% in the past 24 hours, sparking fears of an attack.

Binance said Friday that it will freeze withdrawals of a cryptocurrency that derives part of its value from a link to the exchange's own native Binance Coin token.

Chief executive Changpeng Zhao said withdrawals of Ankr's Reward Bearing Staked BNB coin would be paused while Binance probed a potential attack by hackers.

The token, which held around $123 million of assets and was intended to offer Binance Coin holders returns via staking, crashed 99.5% Friday to trade at $1.51.

"Initial analysis is developer private key was hacked, and the hacker updated the smart contract to a more malicious one," 'CZ' said on Twitter. "Binance paused withdrawals a few hours ago."

Binance has also frozen around $3 million that hackers moved to its centralized exchange, he added.

Hackers have relentlessly targeted digital assets in 2022 with more than $3 billion wiped from the sector this year, according to Chainalysis.

Binance's freezing of Ankr's token comes at a time when investors are worrying about contagion from the implosion of rival exchange FTX and a brutal crypto winter that has seen bitcoin's price fall 63% year-to-date, with the token trading at just under $17,000 at last check.

Read more: Sam Bankman-Fried said he doesn't think he's criminally liable for FTX's implosion, but that his lawyers don't want him speaking publicly

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