Cypher Developer Admits to Stealing $300,000 From Protocol

A developer from Solana’s Cypher project has confessed to embezzling $300,000 in cryptocurrencies.

Hoak’s illicit activities were exposed by Cypher’s founder Barrett, who traced the outflow of funds from the project’s redemption wallet.

While admitting to the theft, Hoak has cited a severe gambling addiction and other psychological issues as major influences.

A developer at Solana project Cypher has admitted to stealing $300,000 in cryptocurrencies from its redemption contract, blaming the theft on a gambling addiction. The pseudonymous developer, known only as Hoak, admitted the theft after being called out by Cypher’s founder, Barrett, who used on-chain data to show the flow of funds going out of the redemption wallet since December. Hoak said that a “crippling gambling addiction and probably multiple other psychological factors” were key factors in his behavior, although he said he wasn’t hiding behind them as an excuse.

Founder Laments “Incredibly Saddening” Event
Barrett aired his allegations on Monday, using an X post to explain what had happened, calling the situation “incredibly saddening” and adding that he “never thought this would be a possibility”:

cypher contributor Hoak (wallet: 7sKMs4mdqFzFgmcZhMnaZayCFqfDEimAf94A2KKXjrWW) has stolen funds from the cypher redemption contract. This happened over months via 36 withdraws (txs laid out in document).

Summary of movement:

The founder added that Hoak had gotten away with the series of thefts for over five months until someone in the project’s Discord messaged to say that he could not withdraw his balance. Hoak indicated that he would “take care of the issue,” only for the user to come back after a deadline imposed by Hoak and say that he still could not withdraw his funds.

Once the truth came to light, Barrett posted a lengthy list of transactions that he had discovered represented the thefts by Hoak, adding that he had sent the document to law enforcement, with the value of the thefts valued at $300,000 today. He also noted that the situation was most galling because Hoak was key in helping to rebuild the exchange after an exploit last year, which he thought showed dedication to the cause.

Hoak Fesses Up
Hoak posted a statement through an X post yesterday:

My statement on the situation.

I fucked up way too hard, way too many times. I don’t expect anyone to forgive me or let this go unpunished. https://t.co/CNq8UFKCkc

In the statement, Hoak was up front about the theft, stating, “To address the elephant in the room, the allegations are true, I took the funds and gambled them away. I didn’t run away with it, nor did anyone else.” He then gave mitigation for his actions:

First and foremost I would like to deeply apologise to all affected parties, I know at this point nothing is going to take back my actions and I have to face the consequences, I am also in no way, shape, or form attempting to victimise myself, but this is the culmination of what snowballed into a crippling gambling addiction and probably multiple other psychological factors that went by unchecked for too long.

Hoak ended his statement by apologizing for his actions and for the hurt he had caused, adding that he was prepared to take any punishment that came his way.

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