Crypto Hackers Made Off With $1.7 Billion

Posted by Richard on May 23, 2024

$1.7 billion dollars. That’s how much crypto hackers made off with by targeting cryptocurrency platforms in 2023, according to a recent industry report by Chainalysis.

To put that in perspective, that’s more than the nominal GDP of the Caribbean nation of Grenada. The good news is that the number actually represents a decline of more than 50 percent over 2022.

There’s still some bad news. Individual hacks rose to 231, compared to 219 a year prior. Organized crime groups and even government-affiliated organizations rank among the major players. It’s believed that organizations affiliated with North Korea carried out 20 attacks last year, an increase from 2022. However, these North Korean organizations made off with just $1 billion in 2023, compared to $1.7 billion in 2022. Constrained with crushing international sanctions, North Korea has turned to various criminal enterprises, including hacking and illicit drug production, to drum up funds.

The reports from Chainalysis did not include the implosions of several large trading platforms that allegedly engaged in criminal activity, such as FTX. These company collapses led to billions in losses — north of $8 billion in the FTX demise alone, according to Commodities Futures Trading Commission in 2023. Some assets have been recovered by investigators, but losses still reach into the billions.

As of Jan. 25, 2024, the value of all mined bitcoins topped $750 billion and total value of all cryptocurrencies topped $1.6 trillion. While fraud remains a costly problem, the multi-billion dollar losses likely don’t pose an existential threat right now. If security remains an issue in the future, however, more people may begin to lose faith in crypto.