Audius – a non-fungible token (NFT) music platform – is the latest victim of a cybertheft. Attackers made off with approximately $6 million in digital currency units.
Audius Loses a Lot of Crypto
The big clincher with Audius is that it puts all the power in the hands of those who share their music with users on the enterprise. As a fully decentralized platform, musicians can post their songs which are then purchased in the forms of NFTs. From there, they earn all the royalty rights to their music and make money whenever users buy or download their work. They owe no funds to their managers, agents, or other members of their entourages.
As of last December, the company hosts more than 100,000 individual artists and boasts more than six million users.
Crypto compliant platform Mis Track reports that Audius saw more than 18.5 million Audio tokens – the official cryptocurrency of the company – taken from one of its wallet systems. Worth approximately $6 million at the time of the theft, they were traded for just over $1 million in Ethereum. The funds were swapped through the Uniswap exchange and remain in the scammer’s personal address.
In a tweet, Audius explained:
Our team is aware of reports of an unauthorized transfer of AUDIO tokens from the community treasury. We are actively investigating and will report back as soon as we know more. The issue has been found and fixes are in progress to get things back to a stable state. To prevent further damage, all Audius smart contracts on Ethereum had to be halted, including the token. We do not believe any further funds are at risk.
The transaction history also shows that the attacker initially received the tokens through a mixing service known as Tornado Cash. These types of services offer full anonymity when transferring funds and are often utilized for illicit purposes such as laundering or washing money.
Chainalysis – a blockchain analysis firm – has suggested in the past that the decentralized finance (defi) space is a growing haven for crypto crime. Recently, the company announced in a report:
Defi is one of the most exciting areas of the wider cryptocurrency ecosystem, presenting huge opportunities to entrepreneurs and cryptocurrency users alike.
A Good Time for Cyber Crime?
2022 has been a big year for crypto crime, with incidents like those involving the Harmony exchange in Northern California wiping hundreds of millions of dollars from the digital books. Recently, the company lost more than $100 million at the hands of Lazarus, a North Korea-based hacking group that’s been labeled a responsible party behind many of the world’s largest – and most recent – cyberattacks.
The group was also connected to a $600 million+ hack involving the digital gaming platform Axie Infinity that took place earlier in the year.