The cryptocurrency industry has experienced substantial losses due to hacking incidents, amounting to over $30 billion since 2012. SlowMist, a blockchain security firm, conducted research that revealed the extent of these losses. Out of the total amount stolen, centralized exchanges accounted for $10.95 billion, making them the primary target for hackers. The research also highlighted that the most significant losses occurred in 2021, totaling almost $5 billion.
The study by SlowMist analyzed 118 hacking incidents that took place between 2012 and 2023. Interestingly, the majority of these large-scale hacks happened during bullish market cycles, indicating that hackers take advantage of the increased activity and vulnerability during such periods. In contrast, hackers were only able to extract less than $1 billion directly from blockchain networks and cryptocurrency wallets during the same period.
Hackers’ Impact on Different Crypto Platforms
The research conducted by SlowMist also shed light on the specific platforms targeted by hackers. Ethereum and BNB Chain (formerly Binance Smart Chain) suffered the most significant losses in terms of both the number of hacks and the amount of money stolen. Ethereum, a popular blockchain platform, experienced a total loss of $3.1 billion through 217 separate hacks. BNB Chain, on the other hand, lost $1.45 billion across 162 distinct hacks.
The EOS ecosystem, although the third most frequently targeted, suffered relatively smaller losses compared to Ethereum and BNB Chain. Hackers managed to steal $25.9 million from the EOS network. In contrast, platforms like Solana and Polygon faced substantial losses despite fewer attacks. Solana lost $202.7 million in 13 attacks, while Polygon lost $177.9 million in 16 attacks.
The Avalanche network experienced eight compromises, resulting in a cumulative loss of $127.7 million. Other notable blockchain networks included in the research were Tron, Fantom, Polkadot, and HECO. Together, these platforms endured fewer than 50 hacks and lost less than $200 million in total.
To further categorize the stolen funds, SlowMist included an “Other” category, which accounted for $10.9 billion of the total amount. This category encompasses various types of blockchain hacks, scams, rug pulls, and other forms of digital theft that were not explicitly mentioned in the research.
In addition to centralized exchanges and blockchain networks, other sectors within the crypto industry also suffered losses. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) faced losses of $200 million primarily due to phishing links and social engineering scams. Hot wallets, which are wallets connected to the internet, experienced losses of $408.9 million. Blockchain networks, as a whole, lost a relatively smaller sum of $207.2 million to malicious actors.
The crypto industry has been battling against hackers for years, with losses amounting to over $30 billion since 2012. Centralized exchanges have been the primary target, accounting for a significant portion of the stolen funds. However, blockchain networks, NFTs, and hot wallets have also faced substantial losses. The research conducted by SlowMist provides valuable insights into the vulnerabilities of different crypto platforms and emphasizes the need for enhanced security measures to protect investors and users in the industry.