PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Report: Successful Crypto Hacks Double in Size Since 2023

Crypto theft

By the middle of 2023, hackers had stolen $657 million in cryptocurrency.

One year later, that figure had more than doubled to $1.38 billion, blockchain data firm TRM Labs said in a report issued Friday (July 5).

“Similar to 2023, a small number of large attacks made up the lion’s share of the haul: the top five hacks and exploits accounted for 70% of the total amount stolen so far this year,” TRM said. “Private key and seed phrase compromises remain a top attack vector in 2024, alongside smart contract exploits and flash loan attacks.”

The largest attack so far this year happened in May at the Japanese crypto exchange DMM Bitcoin, with the theft of more than 4,5000 coins valued at upwards of $300 million.

“While the exact cause of the attack remains unknown, potential vectors include stolen private keys or address poisoning—a tactic wherein attackers send tiny amounts of cryptocurrency to a victim’s wallet to create fake transaction histories, potentially confusing users into sending funds to the wrong address in future transactions,” TRM said.

According to the report, more money was stolen in the first half of this year than the first six months of 2023, with the median hack 150% larger. Still, thefts from hacks are a third below the first six months of 2022, which “remains a record year,” the company said.

A report in 2023 from Chainalysis found that hackers stole $3.8 billion in 2022, up from $3.3 billion in 2021 and $500 million in both 2020 and 2019.

The findings come as the crypto space finds itself “at a critical juncture,” as PYMNTS wrote earlier this week.

“It is the same critical juncture, or at least one strikingly similar, that the crypto and digital asset sector has always found itself at — a juncture where regulatory developments, interoperability and scalability, and institutional acceptance are at the forefront,” that report said. “That’s because regulations, usability and acceptance are the three key themes and trends observers believe will shape the future of Web3, a future that’s been more than a decade in the works.”

On the scalability side, research by PYMNTS Intelligence shows that using crypto for cross-border payments could be the winning use case that the industry has been searching for.

The research found that blockchain-based cross-border solutions, stablecoins in particular, are being increasingly embraced by companies seeking a better way to transact and expand internationally. For example, the Solana network processed $1.4 trillion in stablecoin cross-border payments just in March — a testament to the technology’s scalability.