Magnate Finance, a lending and borrowing protocol that operates on the Ethereum Layer-2 network Base, has apparently orchestrated a rug pull, stealing millions from users of the protocol.
The rug pull had been predicted by on-chain sleuths, including ZachXBT, who cited several previous actions of the project’s founders.
Details Of The Rug Pull
Magnate Finance has also effectively cleared its entire digital presence, having deleted its Telegram group on the 25th of August. It also took its website offline, rendering it inaccessible on the same day. The protocol later deleted its X (formerly Twitter) account as well, effectively erasing its entire digital and social media presence. Mere hours after deleting its entire social media presence, Magnate Finance developers manipulated the price oracle of the protocol. This let them remove all assets within the protocol, removing around $6.4 million of the total value locked (TVL) in the protocol, effectively collapsing the project.
Security firm PeckShield called this occurrence a classic rug pull and also conducted an investigation into the situation. The security firm stated that the developers behind the project transferred around $1.34 million worth of DAI tokens to a new address. Later, they bridged around $1 million of the stolen funds to the BNB Smart Chain. The firm also tracked five different wallets, all of which were linked to the Magnate Finance scammers. PeckShield added that the scammers had manually manipulated the price oracle, allowing them to drain funds.
A majority of the stolen funds went to several Ethereum Layer-2 platforms, such as Optimism and Arbitrum, along with the BNB Smart Chain using Stargate. Around 295 ETH and 1.3 million DAI tokens are currently held on the Base chain.
ZachXBT Had Warned Of Potential Exit Scam
The Magnate Finance rug pull came to light after a warning issued by on-chain investigator ZachXBT. ZachXBT had issued a warning that the developers behind the Magnate Finance protocol could orchestrate an exit scam. The on-chain investigator reached this conclusion after discovering that the Magnate Finance deployer address was linked to a previous exit scam involving a project called Solfire. Solfire defrauded its users of around $4.8 million.
“Community Alert: Magnate Finance on Base will likely exit scam in the near future currently with over $6.4M TVL. The deployers address is directly linked to the Solfire $4.8M exit scam.”
The Problem Of Exit Scams
Exit scams and rug pulls have become a considerable problem in the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, with scammers using them as their preferred tactic. The Magnate Finance rug pull is the second rug pull this month, with the SwirlLend rug pull occurring earlier. SwirlLend, another protocol on Base, stole around $460,000 in an exit scam, with some funds also stolen on Linea. PeckShield, in an analysis of the rug pull, stated that the SwirlLend team drained $290,000 worth of crypto assets from Base and a further $170,000 worth of assets from Linea.
Like Magnate Finance, SwirlLend has also completely erased its digital presence, with its social media accounts on Twitter and Telegram deleted and the website rendered inaccessible.
The scourge of rug pulls, and exit scams is evident from the total value of cryptocurrencies lost to them in the first half of 2023. According to blockchain security firm Beosin, phishing scams and rug pulls have resulted in the loss of a staggering $655 million so far.
“Total losses from hacks, phishing scams, and rug pulls in #Web3 amounted to a staggering $655.61M in H1 2023. Out of this, 108 attacks resulted in a loss of ~$471.43M. Phishing scams accounted for around $108M of losses, while 110 #rugpulls resulted in a total loss of ~$75.87M.”
Growing Problems On Base Chain
Coinbase’s Layer-2 blockchain has faced several problems since it commenced operations. RocketSwap, a project on Base, fell victim to a brute force attack, which saw around 471 ETH, valued at about $865,000 stolen. The protocol outlined an emergency plan following the attack and would also attempt to reach out to the hackers to negotiate a return of the stolen assets.
Another project on Base, the decentralized exchange LeetSwap, also had to suspend trading operations thanks to fears of a potential exploit. The decentralized exchange tweeted that it had detected a security vulnerability and had to stop trading for further investigations. Additionally, Coinbase and Base are also dealing with the aftermath of an SEC lawsuit.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.
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