The BNB Chain, the blockchain operated by the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance Global Inc., resumed operation at roughly 2:30 p.m. Hong Kong time on Friday after developers deployed a software update to close the exploit used to drain roughly US$100 million from the platform.
Transactions were suspended on Thursday after a hacker was able to extract 2 million BNB tokens — the native token of the network — worth roughly US$572 million at the time, before swapping them for other crypto assets to attempt to move them off the chain.
Fortunately, this exploit was detected in time to halt the majority of funds from being drained from the platform, resulting in only US$100 million worth of crypto leaving the platform.
Roughly US$7 million worth of cryptocurrency has already been frozen.
“We want to thank the node service providers for their quick and attentive response,” read an official BNB Chain Reddit post. “We are humbled by the speed and collaboration from the community to freeze funds.”
While US$100 is a significant amount of money, Binance chief executive officer and founder, Changpeng Zhao, tweeted on Friday that the amount is around a quarter of the last BNB burn — a mechanism in which tokens are destroyed to control the supply and price of the token.
Developers will hold an on-chain governance vote in coming days to determine four actions following the exploit: whether to freeze the hacked funds, whether to auto-burn the remaining funds, offer a Whitehat bounty for the remainder of the funds, and a bounty for catching the hackers of up to 10% of the funds.
These questions have sparked fierce debate in the blockchain community about the role and value of decentralization as the centralized exchange looks to possibly freeze the funds.
“Between being decentralized and potentially losing your coins, or using a centralized service that keeps your coins, most people today still choose to use a centralized exchange [CEX],” Zhao wrote in a blog post in response to the debate.
“That’s why CEXs are more popular today. Centralized exchanges provide an incremental step for users to access crypto and can act as a bridge between centralized and decentralized systems,” he added.
Despite the network being back online, developers have advised users that their funds may be stuck if they have attempted to perform a cross-chain transfer, though have repeatedly assured them that their funds are safe, leaving some to simply wait for those funds to go through.
“What[‘]s going on why is it taking this long[?]” tweeted one user, Chico. “My funds been stuck for 3 days now.”
BNB is trading down roughly 5.5% from its price point before the exploit was announced, and was changing hands at US$277 at 12:30 p.m. in Hong Kong.