Hacking is one of the barriers to widespread adoption of digital money. Some high-profile thefts have happened on different cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms, discouraging investors from using them.
Blockchain projects are thought to be safe, but two attacks in August and September 2022 cracked the top seven of all time, shattering this notion. According to blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, approximately $1.6 billion in bitcoin has been stolen from consumers as of 2022. Consider the greatest cryptocurrency hack to date.
Ronin Network: $625 Million
In March 2022, the greatest cryptocurrency attack to date hit the network that runs the popular Axie Infinity blockchain gaming platform. Hackers broke into the Ronin Network and stole $625 million in Ethereum and the USDC stablecoin. The heist was related to the Lazarus Group, a North Korean state-backed cyber organization, according to US authorities. A month later, Binance was able to retrieve $5.8 million of the stolen cash, but it was still the greatest theft in history.
Poly Network: $611 Million
A lone hacker exploited a weakness in the Poly Network decentralized money platform in August 2021 and stole approximately $600 million. The creators of the project launched a Twitter plea for the stolen cash, which included $33 million Tether. The Poly Network then set up multiple addresses where the monies might be refunded, and the mystery hacker started to cooperate. After just two days, around $300 million was recovered, and it was revealed that the hacker had targeted the network “for pleasure” or as a challenge.
Coincheck: $534 Million
In January 2018, the Japanese exchangeCoincheck was attacked for $523 millionNEMcoins worth around $534 million. A hot wallet, which is a live cryptocurrency wallet that is not as secure as an offline cold storage wallet, caused the vulnerability. The Coincheck breach was greater than the infamous Mt. Gox attack at the time; NEM Foundation president Lon Wong called it as “the largest heist in the history of the planet.” Despite being acquired out a few months later by the Japanese financial services business Monex Group, Coincheck was able to withstand the breach and continue to function.
Wormhole: $325 Million
Hackers stole $325 million from the decentralized money network Wormhole in February 2022. The assault was made feasible by a GitHub repository update that was not then published to the live project. After the money were not recovered, the popular cryptocurrency bridge was forced to repair the hole in the project’s finances. This was also the greatest heist using Solana, one of Ethereum’s main competitors in the fields of DeFi and NFTs. A total of $47 million was invested in the blockchain’s native SOL coin.
Nomad Bridge: $190 Million
A month before the Wintermute breach, a more serious hack of Nomad Bridge took $190 million from the project’s assets. Nomad is a cryptocurrency bridge that allows users to exchange tokens across blockchains, but it has recently been a target for hackers. This is due to the high value of the assets they own and the intricacy of the smart contract code on which they operate.
Wintermute: $162 Million
The most recent attack occurred in September 2022, when the main cryptocurrency market maker, Wintermute, was compromised. The project lost over $160 million due to a cyberattack, with the firm’s CEO promising a 10% reward to the hacker if the stolen money were restored. To lessen price volatility, a crypto market maker offers liquidity on crypto exchanges. The fact that Wintermute owed $200 million in loans to other market players exacerbated their plight.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is very dangerous and speculative, and this article is not a suggestion by Investopedia or the writer to do so. Because every person’s circumstance is different, a knowledgeable specialist should always be contacted before making any financial choices. Investopedia makes no guarantees or warranties about the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided on this site. The author owns bitcoin and ripple as of the day this post was published.
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