Bitcoin Cybercrime
Blockchain Cryptocurrency Cybersecurity Insights

$12.1billion in Crypto-Assets Have Been Stolen Over Ten Years; Crystal Blockchain Analysis Finds

Billions of dollars in crypto assets have been stolen over the course of the last ten years, according to the analysis that Crystal Blockchain has released in its bi-annual ‘Crypto and DeFi Hacks and Scams’ report.

As detailed in the report, between 2011 and 2021, there were 120 security attacks, 73 attacks on DeFi protocols, and 33 fraudulent schemes that together resulted in the theft of approximately $12.1billion worth of crypto assets.

Representation of stolen virtual assets 2011 - 2021 (Image source: Crystal Blockchain)
Representation of stolen virtual assets 2011 – 2021 (Image source: Crystal Blockchain)

The report states that over $1.7billion was stolen from DeFi protocols. According to Crystal’s analysts, this is because the technology still exists as a fairly new concept, and has therefore been prone to vulnerabilities.

The biggest DeFi breach to date occurred in 2021 to Poly Network, a DeFi initiative, targeted by a hacker(s), who stole more than $614million in tokens (the majority of these funds have now been returned).

A leader in the laundering of dirty bitcoins was the crypto trading platform BTC-e, which was indicted and then seized for money laundering in January 2017. BTC-e managed to launder over 200,000BTC over several years. According to the Crystal database, 39 per cent of all stolen BTC funds were distributed via Fraudulent Exchanges, defined as exchanges that have been involved in exit scams, illegal behaviour, or who have had funds seized by the government.

The most common locations for exchange security breaches are the US, the UK, South Korea, Japan, and China.
The most common locations for exchange security breaches are the US, the UK, South Korea, Japan, and China.

Key Highlights From the Report:

  • Infiltrating crypto-exchange security systems has been the most popular method of crypto theft.
  • $3.18billion has been stolen through security breaches, $7.12billion has been stolen through scams, and $1.76billion through DeFi hacks.
  • Between 2020 and 2021, DeFi hacks started trending, and they still continue to grow.
  • Ransomware is on the rise, with the most noticeable attacks in 2021 being on JBS (paid $11million to REvil ransomware) and Сolonial Pipeline (paid $7million to DarkSide).
  • Scams using NFTs are also trending, with the market cap for NFTs having jumped by 1785 per cent so far in 2021. Growing adoption inevitably leads to more bad actors in the space.

“Distributing up-to-date Security Breach and Fraud information helps highlight the current situation in the cryptocurrency world and shows how compliance services are essential for progress in the industry,” comments Marina Khaustova, CEO at Crystal Blockchain.

Author

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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