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News/Wormhole's $896M Airdrop: How Scammers Hijacked the Spotlight

Wormhole's $896M Airdrop: How Scammers Hijacked the Spotlight

Van Thanh Le

Apr 5 2024

2 months ago3 minutes read
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Wormhole Airdrop Triggers Scammer Frenzy

The Wormhole cross-chain bridge's recent airdrop of over $800 million worth of its W tokens has attracted not only genuine participants but also a significant number of scammers. The launch of the W token saw a staggering total market capitalization of $2.98 billion, with an initial price of $1.66 on the Solana-based decentralized exchange OpenBook. However, the price experienced a 19.5% decrease shortly after, trading at $0.96.

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Wormhole earmarked 674 million tokens, which is 6.75% of the total supply, for the airdrop, bringing the current total value of the airdrop to $896 million for users who met the protocol's eligibility criteria. The announcement on X (formerly known as Twitter) was heavily targeted by scammers, with numerous scam accounts, some even verified with "gold checkmarks," attempting to lure potential victims with fake offers.

The founder of Wormhole, Robinson Burkey, had his X account compromised, leading to the distribution of malicious links suspected of draining wallets shortly after the airdrop announcement. Opportunistic developers capitalized on the airdrop buzz by creating a parody token named "Warmhole," which saw its market cap skyrocket from around $100,000 at launch to a peak of $8.3 million, marking an approximate 83,000% gain in less than six hours.

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Source: Robinson Burkey/ X

Wormhole's 2022 Hacker Briefly Qualified for Airdrop

The 2022 Wormhole Bridge hack, involving a loss of $320 million in crypto assets, resurfaced as scammers and the hacker involved in the breach participated in the Wormhole airdrop, with an exploiter claiming $50,000 worth of W tokens. Despite the significant financial impact of the 2022 breach, efforts by decentralized finance platform and infrastructure firm Jump Crypto managed to recover approximately $225 million in various digital assets from the hacker through a counter-exploit.

Concerns over security were amplified with the revelation that the hacker behind the 2022 Wormhole breach was momentarily listed as eligible for the airdrop, highlighting lapses in the project's security measures. 

The Wormhole team eventually removed the associated wallet addresses from the eligibility list. Blockchain sleuth ZachXBT highlighted the surge in scam activities following the airdrop announcement, with numerous fake accounts sporting gold checkmarks on X targeting unsuspecting users with phishing links, underscoring the heightened risk of scams in the wake of major cryptocurrency events.


Wormhole's airdrop, while generous, attracted a wave of scammers targeting both airdrop recipients and those hoping to capitalize on the hype. The incident exposed security vulnerabilities and the prevalence of scams in the crypto space.


What was the total value of the Wormhole airdrop?

Wormhole earmarked 674 million tokens, worth $896 million, for users who met the eligibility criteria.

How did scammers target airdrop recipients?

Scammers created fake accounts, some with verified badges, on X to lure victims with fake offers and phishing links. Even Wormhole founder's account was compromised to spread malicious links.

What is a parody token, and how did one emerge from the Wormhole airdrop?

Opportunistic developers created a parody token named "Warmhole" that capitalized on the airdrop buzz. Its market cap skyrocketed from $100,000 to $8.3 million in just six hours.

Was the hacker behind the 2022 Wormhole exploit eligible for the airdrop?

Briefly, yes. The hacker's wallet address was initially listed as eligible, raising security concerns. The Wormhole team later removed the address from the eligibility list.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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