Cryptocurrency Hackers Were More Active in 2019, but Were Less Successful

Michael LaVere
  • Most recent Chainalysis report indicates the total amount of theft from crypto hacks declined in 2019.
  • Despite the decline in monetary loss, the total number of individual hacks increased. 

The total amount of cryptocurrency stolen by hackers decreased in 2019 despite overall malicious activity increasing and attacks being more widespread. 

According to the most recent Crypto Crime Report by blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, more cryptocurrency hacks occurred in 2019 than any other year so far. However, the cumulative amount of money stolen during crypto hacks was down compared to previous years. 

Of the eleven major hacks that took place in 2019, none matched the scale of previous thefts such as 2018’s $534 million hack of Coincheck or the $195 million from BitGrail. Total crypto theft from hacks declined from $875.5 million in 2018 to $282.6 million in 2019. 

Chainalsysis’s methodology was limited to hacks involving access to exchange funds and did not include exit scams or thefts of payment processors. 

According to the report, 

With no hacks taking in more than the $105 million stolen from Coinbene, both the average and median amount stolen per hack fell substantially in 2019, after having risen each of the three preceding years.

The report continues, adding that only 54$ of the hackers seen in 2019 took over $10 million from their victims, compared with all of the hacks observed in 2018.

Chainalysis attributes the decline to exchanges, as these have gotten better at “limiting” the damage any one hacker can do. 

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