In a recent incident, smart contract auditor CertiK claims to have blocked $160,000 from Merlin, a zk-Sync-based decentralized exchange (DEX) at the center of a rogue insider “rug pull” that cost users $1.8 million. Despite the setback, CertiK stated in a tweet to its 257,700 followers that they and their partners had managed to freeze the substantial amount and will continue monitoring the movement of the stolen funds to recover the remaining amount.
CertiK’s collaboration with Merlin to recoup the funds pilfered during the April 25 incident has been fruitless, leading them to contact American and British law enforcement agencies. The security firm’s pursuit of the rogue developers, believed to be based in Europe, has been further complicated by Merlin’s lack of cooperation. As a result, CertiK has committed $2 million to explore all possibilities for combating exit scams and assisting users in recovering their money.
Contrary to its earlier findings, CertiK now states that the Merlin insiders abused the owner’s wallet privileges rather than exploiting a private key issue. The company acknowledges part of the blame, conceding that it failed to adequately inform users of the centralization risks associated with the platform.
In response to the incident, Merlin claimed that the “rug pull” was executed by its back-end team, in whom they had placed a “high degree of trust.” The company expressed deep regret for the actions of the technical team and pledged to continue supporting the community and resolving the issue.
Meanwhile, CertiK has recognized the need for improvements in reporting and communication. Specifically, the firm aims to provide clearer audit summaries, emphasizing centralization risks, and to convey the purpose of an audit more effectively. By enhancing the transparency and accessibility of audit reports, CertiK hopes to provide users with a comprehensive understanding of potential risks involved with platforms like Merlin.
As the crypto space expands and evolves, incidents like these highlight the need for strict security measures, robust auditing, and increased transparency. While the effort to freeze and recover stolen funds marks a step in the right direction, it is also essential for the community and stakeholders to adopt a proactive approach in promoting trust and collaboration between platforms and their users. This not only ensures greater security and control for users but also contributes toward enriching the promising world of blockchain technology and decentralized finance.