- The number of cases cryptocurrency breaches and fraud is on track to break records in 2021.
- 32 incidents of hacks and fraud for a total value of $2.99 billion have taken place so far in 2021.
- The number of offenses, on average, grows 41% every year.
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Cases of breaches and fraud in the cryptocurrency market are pushing toward their highest count this year, a study released Tuesday showed, rising alongside growth in the market itself to a more than $2 trillion valuation
32 incidents of hacks and fraud for a total value of $2.99 billion have taken place so far in 2021. That’s on course to break the 38 cases tallied in 2020, with that figure representing a 40.7% climb from 2019, according to analysis from Crypto Head, which tracks information and writes guides about the cryptocurrency market.
The average value of this year’s breach and fraud cases comes in at $93.3 million. On average, the number of offenses grows 41% every year, it said.
Breaches of wallets and exchanges are the most common type of attack, with 126 in the last ten years, outstripping attacks and fraud involving DeFi, or decentralized finance, at 41 each. “However, the number of DeFi breaches is on the increase, with this new technology more open to potential weaknesses,” wrote James Page, a crypto technical writer at Crypto Head.
In the last 10 years, $19.2 billion has been stolen through breaches and fraud. Bitcoin is the most targeted cryptocurrency, accounting for 33.3% of hacking and fraud cases. The world’s most traded digital coin, bitcoin’s valuation on Tuesday was re-approaching $1 trillion following a selloff. Bitcoin accounts for about 43% of the cryptocurrency market, whose valuation has soared this year to $2.1 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.com.
Ethereum is the second-most targeted crypto, logging 36, or 12.8%, of breaches over the last decade.
But it’s fraud cases that are the most lucrative for criminals as they’ve taken, on average, $365 million, or more than 14 times as much as breaches, said Crypto Head.
The United States is the most commonly targeted country, with 17 hacks and fraud cases, followed by the UK and South Korea, at 12 and 9 incidents, respectively.
2021 may set a record number of offenses, but hackers made the most money in 2017, stealing $223.5 million on average and highs of $4.7 billion in total. The largest breach to date is Mt. Gox, with $615 million stolen over the years, leading to the platform’s insolvency in 2014, said Crypto Head.
Crypto Head said the majority of the data it analyzed came from Crystal, a digital asset analytics platform and that it omitted instances of crypto seized by governments or law enforcement authorities.