Acala hack raises doubts

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Freezing of the network and tokens following the Acala hack raises doubts

Acala hack raises doubts
Acala hack raises doubts / Image Credit: CRYPKYP
1660549307 15 Aug / 07:41

The Acala hack created over a billion aUSD stablecoins out of thin air, leaving the community to worry about how a decentralized protocol would manage the clean-up.

The Acala Network's aUSD stablecoin depegged by more than 99% over the weekend, prompting the Acala team to suspend a hacker's wallet and raising questions about its claim to be decentralized.

On Sunday, a hacker exploited a flaw in the iBTC/aUSD liquidity pool, creating 1.2 billion aUSD without collateral. In response, the Acala team placed the network in maintenance mode and froze the incorrectly created tokens.

Other functions, including swaps, xcm (cross-chain communications on Polkadot), and the oracle pallet price feeds, were also disabled until “further notice.”

Although putting the network in maintenance mode and freezing the hacker’s wallet may have been intended to safeguard users and the network from further harm, proponents of decentralization have protested.

Acala is a cross-chain decentralized finance (DeFi) center that issues the Polkadot-backed stablecoin aUSD. aUSD is a stablecoin backed by cryptocurrencies that Acala believes are censorship-resistant. iBTC is a Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC) variant that is compatible with DeFi protocols.

Community members have observed the absurdity of Acala’s assertions of aUSD’s censorship resilience, given how quickly the protocol froze money. Twitter user pointed out on August 14 that for finance to be “decentralized,” choices “would have to move to governance:”

A member of the project’s Discord channel, usafmike, offered to reverse all token mints by rolling back the chain. However, another member,, argued that such a move would “create a dangerous precedent.”

The network was still in maintenance mode to prevent token transfers at the time of writing, but the team confirmed that the problem had been resolved. The wallets that received erroneously issued aUSD have been discovered, and 99.9% of them were still on Acala, leaving the potential that the community might reclaim them if it so chooses.

The Acala vulnerability is the second significant one in a week since Curve Finance’s front end was attacked on August 9, and customers were prompted to accept a fraudulent contract. Curve’s pools were not affected, and users who directly dealt with its smart contracts did not suffer any difficulties. However, Acala’s pools were compromised.

aUSD is the most recent stablecoin to lose its peg in recent months, after TerraUSD (UST) in May, which has now been renamed TerraUSD Classic (USTC). Tether (USDT) and Dei are two more noteworthy depegs (DEI).

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