A few months can feel like a lifetime in crypto. However, it probably hasn’t felt like long enough for Mango Markets exploiter Avraham Eisenberg, who was taken into custody in Puerto Rico this week. Eisenberg gained notoriety on crypto Twitter after describing his nine-figure exploit of the Solana-based protocol as “a highly profitable trading strategy.” On Twitter and across other outlets, Eisenberg was insistent that his exploit was simply taking advantage of the protocol’s code, and that his actions weren’t illegal or even immoral.
However, U.S. federal prosectors seem to disagree.
An Exploiter’s Endeavor
In October, Eisenberg exploited Solana-based Mango Markets and made headlines not just for the exploit – which was essentially a ‘looping’ exploit, manipulating the price of the MNGO token – but also for the outlandishly-sized ‘bug bounty’ that Eisenberg managed to walk away with. B
ug bounties are commonplace for exploiters – often ‘white hat’ exploiters who look to take advantage of code for the ‘better of society’ – but never have amounted to a payout this large. While Eisenberg attempted to include language in a Mango protocol proposal that could shield him from “criminal investigations,” that didn’t slow the U.S. DoJ and FBI from looking into his activity.
At the time of our October publishing on the matter, it was unclear if Mango would be able to make a recovery; little did we know how much damage the Solana ecosystem would face in the 60 days following that event. Since the exploiter’s endeavor, Solana’s defi landscape has crumbled, FTX fallout has impacted the chain drastically, and it’s once flagship NFT community is facing intense pressure with the departure of signature projects DeGods and y00ts.
Mango Madness, Continued
Court documents have been unveiled this week, shedding light on Eisenberg’s arrest in Puerto Rico. An initial filing, dated December 23, 2022 and released this week, federal prosecutors outline two separate charges surrounding Eisenberg’s “scheme involving the intentional and artificial manipulation of the price of perpetual futures contracts” on Mango. The 14-page filing details how Eisenberg manipulated MNGO perps, detailing his movement between wallets.
The filing closes by mentioning that Eisenberg attempted to flee law enforcement by swiftly departing the U.S. to Israel, and highlights the belief that Eisenberg was well aware of the illegality of his actions, based on Twitter activity. The document is rounded out by a request from the FBI agent to issue a warrant for Eisenberg’s arrest.
A second filing, dated December 27, confirms his arrest in Puerto Rico. Crypto Twitter rejoiced with memes surrounding Eisenberg’s arrest.