Billions worth of cryptocurrencies has been stolen since 2011. A new report from Crystal Blockchain, a blockchain analytics firm based in Amsterdam, shows that $7.6 billion worth of cryptocurrencies has been stolen since 2011.
Scams and security breaches have been ranked as the two most prominent methods used in stealing the cryptocurrency.
Hackers stole $2.8 billion through a total of 113 security breaches.
The most major cryptocurrency heists happened through exchanges. Japanese exchange Coincheck 2018 security breach tops the chart, which involved hackers making away with NEM coins worth $535 million.
Security breaches were most common on exchanges in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, and China.
Crystal Blockchain says most exchanges have been preyed upon by hackers due to insufficient security and low-level verification on withdrawals.
And it doesn’t get any better, the attacks are expected to continue rising as hackers continue to deploy sophisticated techniques.
Cryptocurrency-based fraudulent schemes like scams and Ponzi schemes account for most of the money lost, standing at $4.8 billion between 2011 and 2020. This is just according to 23 major fraudulent schemes noted by the company.
For instance, in 2019, cryptocurrency investors lost 2.9 billion to the PlusToken Ponzi scheme. This year, there’s been another well-known scam, WoToken, which involved several cryptocurrencies collectively valued at around $1.1 billion. (Masterminds of WoToken scam have recently been imprisoned in China)
Scams, among other issues, have been one of the main reasons regulators in Africa are reluctant to embrace cryptocurrencies.
As technology continues to advance, the team predicts an increase in the sophistication of attacks.
In fact, the real figure for money lost by investors in cryptocurrency breaches and scams could be way more than $7.6 billion. Last year, a report from CipherTrace estimated a total of $4.4 billion lost in 2019 alone.