For years, cryptocurrency has been making headlines. Also known as crypto, this digital currency can be traded and used as a type of payment for various services and goods.
Although Bitcoin is the most well-known type of all of the cryptocurrencies, there are thousands of them out there, with a total value of more than $1 trillion as of 2021.12
While all of this sounds appealing to a lot of people, and more and more investors are jumping on the bandwagon to buy crypto, there’s also quite a bit of crime within the world of crypto trading.
Continue reading to access a list of some cryptocurrency hacking statistics from the last few years.
Cryptocurrency Crime Has Been a Real Concern for Years
As the cryptocurrency market continues to grow year after year, hackers and thieves have also become more active, taking advantage of the funds that can be found within digital exchanges. The amount of funds stolen by hackers varies from one year to another.
- In 2020, $1.9 billion was stolen by crypto criminals. 1
- In 2020, $1.9 billion was stolen by crypto criminals.1
- In 2019, $4.5 billion was stolen by crypto criminals.1
- In 2018, $1.7 billion was stolen by crypto criminals.1
The Level of Crime in the Crypto Market Rises and Falls
As mentioned above, the rate of cyber crime within the cryptocurrency market will vary from year to year. Some years have seen a dramatic increase in crime, while others have experienced lower rates of crime.
- Compared to 2019, cryptocurrency crime fell by around 57% in 2020.1
- The average value that was stolen by criminals was higher by around 160% in 2019 when compared to 2020.1
- Compared to 2018, the amount stolen by cybercriminals rose by around 165% in 2019.1
There Are Different Types of Crime in the Cryptocurrency Market
- Cybercrime takes different forms within the crypto market. And, again, the type of crime that occurs most can vary from one year to the next.
- In 2020, the three biggest types of cryptocurrency crime were fraud, theft, and ransomware.1
- Ponzi schemes are also a threat. Two well-known examples are the WoToken and PlusToken scams, which involved the theft of billions of dollars from investors.5
- Decentralized finance (also known as DeFi) services appear to be more vulnerable to hackers than centralized exchanges that have implemented better security measures.6
- Roughly 50% of the crypto hacks that occurred in 2020 involved DeFi.10
- Roughly 99% of the cryptocurrency fraud that occurred in the second half of 2020 involved DeFi exit scams, including “rug pulls.”11
- Another type of crypto crime comes in the form of fraudulent initial coin offerings.7
- Hot wallets have been attacked by hackers who have been able to steal private keys. And cold wallets can also become vulnerable once connected to the internet.8
A Look at Some of the Biggest Cryptocurrency Crimes of 2020
Several significant cyber crimes occurred throughout 2020, and in the years leading up to it, affecting people all over the world. Here is a look at just a few of them.
- In April 2020, thieves stole more than $250,000 from users on the Bisq Bitcoin exchange. And $25 million in crypto was also stolen from the platform known as Lendf.me that same month.2
- In June 2020, it was reported that the hacking group known as CryptoCore had stolen roughly $200 million from crypto exchanges on the internet.3
- In August 2020, the cryptocurrency trading platform known as 2gether fell victim to a cyber attack that stole nearly €1.2 million in cryptocurrency.4
- In September 2020, KuCoin and Eterbase both suffered losses. While KuCoin lost around $150 million in cryptocurrency, attackers stole $5.4 million from the Eterbase exchange.2
A Look at Some of the Cryptocurrency Exchanges That Have Been Attacked
There are a lot of cryptocurrency exchanges to choose from, and all of them are vulnerable, to some degree or another, to hackers and fraudsters. Here is a small sampling of the exchanges that have been impacted through the years.
Expectations for the Future of Crypto Crime
Crypto crime has been affecting investors around the world for years, and experts don’t seem to believe that things will get much better, even though they have been working hard to crack down on crime and prevent future criminal activity.
- It’s believed that hackers will be even more motivated to commit cryptocurrency crimes once banks—particularly big banks—enter the market.8
- As the crypto market continues to grow, exchanges will keep facing threats from hackers, so users need to be careful about which exchanges they choose to use.9
- Exit scams, hacks, and fraud are expected to increase as more money goes into DeFi in 2021.11
Overall, cryptocurrency crimes should be taken seriously by anyone who plans on investing in a digital currency like Bitcoin. There are many exchanges to choose from, but the odds are high that, at some point or another, a hacker will be able to find their way into an exchange to wreak havoc and steal funds from innocent people. In order to protect themselves and their users, exchanges will need to continue taking smart steps to provide additional security against hackers.
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