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New Year’s Heist: Cybercriminals Nab $82 Million in Orbit Chain Cryptocurrency Theft

Just hours before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, cybercriminals made off with over $82 million in cryptocurrency in a cyber heist. The theft targeted Orbit Bridge, a key bridging service within the Orbit Chain cross-chain protocol.

This significant breach was confirmed by the Orbit Chain team in an official statement, where they also disclosed ongoing collaborations with Theori, a web3 auditing firm, to uncover the root cause of the breach.

Cybercriminals Get Busy On New Year’s Day

As the world celebrated the arrival of 2024, cybercriminals were orchestrating a significant heist in the digital realm. The attack, precisely timed on December 31, 2023, at 08:52:47 PM UTC, successfully penetrated Orbit Chain’s protocol. 

In response to this alarming breach, the developers of Orbit Chain have mobilized efforts in collaboration with international law enforcement to uncover the primary cause and respond appropriately to the incident.


PeckShield Inc., a renowned blockchain security company, initiated a preliminary investigation in response to the breach. This early assessment revealed staggering losses amounting to approximately $81.5 million, dispersed across five separate transactions involving stablecoins and various cryptocurrencies. 

The crypto community, always vigilant, was quick to react. Influential voices in the cryptocurrency space and blockchain security experts, including those with handles like @officer_cia, took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to confirm and discuss the attack. Their tweets added a layer of public scrutiny and awareness to the unfolding situation.

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Adding to the efforts to understand and mitigate the aftermath of this heist, SlowMist, another key player in blockchain security, conducted an initial external investigation. Their findings pointed towards a possible security breach within the Orbit Chain bridge or a compromised centralized server.

Analysis of the $81.68 Million Orbit Chain Breach

The unfolding story of the Orbit Chain heist further complicates as blockchain analysis tool Arkham Intelligence sheds light on the mechanics of the theft.

According to Arkham Intelligence, the theft was executed through five distinct transactions, which collectively drained $81.68 million from the system in various cryptocurrencies.

Orbit Chain, which debuted in South Korea in 2018, is known for its facilitation of cross-chain transactions among diverse decentralized protocols.

This protocol uniquely enables the transfer of assets between EVM-compatible networks and Klaytn, a modular layer-1 blockchain. With strong ties to Klaytn, Orbit Chain plays a pivotal role in the blockchain ecosystem, particularly noted for its bridging capabilities.

In the wake of this incident, Klaytn has stepped forward, committing to provide prompt updates on the situation. They are in regular communication with Ozys, the team behind Orbit Chain, as they jointly navigate this crisis.

The significance of Orbit Chain to Klaytn is profound; it is reputedly Klaytn’s largest bridge supplier, underscoring the potential impact of this breach on the broader blockchain infrastructure.

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Orbit Chain Incident Adds to the Tally of Huge Crypto Losses in 2023 

The recent Orbit Chain cyber heist not only caused a significant immediate loss but also contributed to an alarming annual total for 2023.

According to a report by SlowMist, the year witnessed as many as 462 hacks, resulting in an astounding total outflow of over $2.4 billion.

The Orbit Chain team has been proactive in addressing the concerns of its protocol users. They have confirmed that they are in active communication with law enforcement agencies to seek support and aid in the investigation.

Simultaneously, an in-depth investigation is underway to determine the root cause of the incident, a crucial step in preventing future vulnerabilities.

Orbit Chain has also outlined a user compensation plan. This plan requires users to undergo a verification process to ascertain their eligibility for a refund.

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Donald Haymatter

Donald Haymatter is an expert broker with 15+ years of experience. He stays up-to-date with the latest financial news and trends to help clients make informed investment decisions. Donald is known for his analytical approach and personalized investment advice. Outside of work, he enjoys reading and mentoring young professionals.

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