For yet another year, hackers stole billions of dollars in crypto. But for the first time since 2020, the trend is downwards, according to crypto security firms.
This year, hackers stole around $2 billion dollars in crypto across dozens of cyberattacks and thefts, according to De.FI, the web3 security firm that runs the REKT database. The site ranks the worst-ever crypto hacks, from the breach of the Ronin network in 2022, where hackers stole more than $600 million in crypto in what stands as the largest incident in history, to the hack against Mixin Network this year, which netted the hackers around $200 million.
“This amount, though dispersed across various incidents, underscores the persistent vulnerabilities and challenges within the DeFi ecosystem,” De.Fi wrote in its report, which the firm shared with TechCrunch. “2023 stood as a testament to both the ongoing vulnerabilities and the strides made in addressing them, even as interest in the space was relatively muted by the ongoing bear market in the first half of the year.”
Earlier in December, blockchain intelligence company TRM Labs also released an estimate of the amount of crypto stolen by hackers this year. According to the company, the total as of mid-December stood at about $1.7 billion.
Among the other worst crypto thefts of the year include the hack against Euler Finance, in which hackers stole almost $200 million; as well as major hacks against Multichain ($126 million), BonqDAO ($120 million), Poloniex ($114 million) and Atomic Wallet ($100 million), among hundreds of others.
Last year, blockchain monitoring firm Chainalysis reported that cybercriminals had stolen an all-time record of around $3.8 billion in crypto. Of those, $1.7 billion were stolen by North Korean government hackers known as Lazarus Group, one of the most prolific groups of crypto thieves, as part of an effort to fund the regime’s sanctioned nuclear weapons program.
“It isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy,” Chainalysis said in its report last year.
The year before, hackers stole $3.3 billion in 2021, according to Chainalysis,
It’s impossible to predict what will happen in 2024. But given the poor security implemented by many crypto and web3 projects and the sheer amount of monetary value they hold as discussed earlier this year at TechCrunch Disrupt, we can expect hackers to continue targeting the growing industry.
Correction: Amended attribution to the REKT Database in the second paragraph.