Huobi’s ‘Heco’ chain bridge drained of $87M in crypto assets

The HTX exchange has been hit by a security breach, similar to the recent Poloniex hack


ADragan/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


The bridge connecting the HTX exchange (formerly Huobi) and Ethereum was exploited for approximately $87 million in crypto assets early Wednesday.

Large quantities of ether, tether (USDT) and a wrapped version of bitcoin (HBTC) were seen leaving the bridge for a previously unused Ethereum wallet.

The suspicious transactions were first analyzed by various blockchain security firms including CertiK, Peckshield and Cyvers.

According to CertiK, the bridge’s private key was likely compromised.

“The suspicious transactions were initiated by the Huobi HECO Bridge operator wallet indicating that this wallet was compromised,” a CertiK spokesperson told Blockworks.

Read more: Crypto exchange HTX loses $8M in weekend hack

Various other ERC-20 tokens were drained, swapped for ether, and distributed to at least 8 other wallets.

Two hot wallets of HTX Global (formerly Huobi) lost funds, according to Cyvers. Board member Justin Sun confirmed the incident on X.

“HTX and Heco Cross-Chain Bridge Undergo Hacker Attack. HTX Will Fully Compensate for HTX’s hot wallet Losses,” Sun said.

Justin Sun assumed control over the Huobi Eco Chain in October 2022, Bloomberg previously reported, although Sun denied he owns a majority stake. He referred to it as a merger with the Tron and BitTorrent Chain ecosystems, which he also controls.

The primary purpose of the HECO bridge is to enable the movement of digital assets between the Huobi Eco Chain and other blockchain networks, such as Ethereum.

The HECO hack is not an isolated incident but rather part of a pattern of security lapses in blockchain projects associated with Sun. Poloniex, an exchange acquired by Sun, suffered a $100 million exploit two weeks ago, which security analysts believe also may have resulted from compromised private keys.

Poloniex officials have been in the process of negotiating with the hacker in that case.

It’s not yet clear if the two thefts are directly related.

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