Ethereum Sidechain Project Polygon ‘Hard Forked’ After Critical Bug Discovered

Ethereum sidechain project Polygon (MATIC) could well have lost all of its MATIC tokens, worth US$24 billion, after it discovered a “severe” bug that had gone unnoticed for some time. To offset the enormous loss, the Polygon network underwent a hard fork to save the project.

‘Critical’ Vulnerability Found in Polygon’s PoS Genesis Contract

The hard fork proceeded after a “critical” vulnerability was found in Polygon’s proof-of-stake genesis contract, which would have allowed attackers to steal 9.2 billion MATIC tokens. The total supply of MATIC is 10 billion, and any vulnerability would have put 9.2 billion of those tokens at risk, a potentially devastating loss.

The problem was reported on the bug bounty platform Immunefi by a white hat hacker known as Leon Spacewalker. Following the discovery of the bug, Immunefi informed the team at Polygon, after which they confirmed it.

However, Polygon did not come out entirely unscathed. Before the upgrade on the mainnet could be completed, an unknown black hat hacker stole 801,601 MATIC, worth about US$1.6 million.


The team at Polygon reported: “Despite our best efforts, a malicious hacker was able to use the exploit to steal 801,601 MATIC before the network upgrade took effect.”

Co-founder Conceded Pre-existing Vulnerability

Although Polygon did not release details regarding the incident until December 29, chatter on social media had emerged mid-month about the network zero-warning hard fork. During that time, Polygon co-founder Mihailo Bjelic did concede that a vulnerability existed and that the team would subsequently release details of the problem.

Bjelic wrote at the time: “We are now investing much more on security and we’re making an effort to improve security practices across all Polygon projects.”

When asked why the project waited until this week to disclose information regarding the bug, the core development team explained its “silent patches” policy:

All in all, the team struck the best possible balance between openness and doing what’s best for the community, partners and the broader ecosystem in handling this extremely urgent and sensitive issue. But you can be the judge of that.

Polygon core development team statement

Polygon Records Exponential Growth

Polygon is undergoing a period of growth and mass adoption, and is evolving and adapting along with it. The scaling solution has seen an increasing number of decentralisation applications (dApps) running on the network. Data has also revealed that Polygon is growing at a rate two times faster than Ethereum at a comparable time in its history.

Having seen massive adoption from DeFi protocols, Polygon is also planning to launch a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) with the ultimate goal of improving users’ DeFi experience, while at the same time attracting more users to DeFi.

Polygon was also recently included in an exciting partnership between Exodus Wallet and SportX, which will allow its users to wager on esports and crypto prices on the network.

Jana Serfontein

Jana Serfontein

Jana has keen interest in what cryptocurrencies have to offer in regards to NGO’s, governments and the financial system. And is also intrigued with the psychological effect that cryptocurrencies have on society.

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