Near Protocol ‘darkness’ and ‘sovereignty’ X posts raise hack suspicion

Several tweets went out from Near Protocol’s official X handle, asking its nearly two million followers to “reclaim your sovereignty,” among other unusual directives. 

On May 8, around 6:18 pm UTC, Near Protocol’s X account posted a 27-second long Morse ode video without providing any context. Cointelegraph decoded the message, which read, “Darkness is coming.”

Source: Near Protocol

Two hours after the cryptic message was tweeted, Near’s X account posted four consecutive tweets using a difficult-to-read gothic font, widely used by heavy metal bands. The messages said, “the sun rises in the east,” “take back your thoughts,” “darkness” and “reclaim your sovereignty.”

Additionally, Near’s account name and description were also changed in accordance with the gothic theme of the tweets. The screenshot below shows the comprised X account of Near Protocol and related tweets.

Source: Near Protocol

Near Protocol did not respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

The crypto community on X and blockchain investigators suspect a possible hijack. However, no official confirmation was received at the time of writing.

However, a handful of the protocol’s supporters see the tweets as a sign of something bigger coming to the ecosystem.

In January, the X account of crypto data aggregator CoinGecko was compromised and used to run a phishing scam. The company managed to regain control of its social media account following a quick intervention.

Related: Near introduces multichain transactions from a single account

Along similar timelines, Near Foundation, the developer of the namesake layer-1 protocol, laid off 40% of its staff “to significantly consolidate the core Foundation team to focus on a narrower and higher-impact set of activities.”

The decision involved letting go of 35 Near employees in the marketing, business development and community teams. The company said at the time:

“The Near Foundation will provide support to affected colleagues during this time to help them find new opportunities in the NEAR ecosystem, the Web3 industry, and beyond.”

The layoffs came right after a review that concluded inefficiencies in the way the foundation operates. The oundation plans to further diminish its footprint as the ecosystem inches forward toward true decentralization over the coming years.

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