Often presented as a secure means of payment, cryptocurrencies have nevertheless experienced several setbacks throughout their (short) history. Here are 5 hacks that have impacted the digital asset industry.
There is no rest for hackers. In the first seven months of the year, hackers have already stolen 2 billion euros, according to Atlas VPN. And more than 80 attacks were identified during the first semester. A figure in net growth compared to the same period last year.
These hacks are nothing new. But as the crypto ecosystem grows, the intensity of attacks and their frequency increases. For the fledgling crypto industry, these hacks represent a major challenge. All the more so that even the heavyweights of the sector are not spared. From the Bitfinex Poly Network, here it is 5 hacks that made history.
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5. Bitfinex: 73.1 million euros
In 2016, Bitfinex was the standard cryptocurrency exchange in the market. So when his teams announced that hackers had penetrated him before running off with the 119756 bitcoins (it’s around 73.1 million euros), markets took a hit.
In total, hacking accounted for more than a third (36%) funds placed on Bitfinex, a Hong Kong player. Therefore, the result was not long in coming. In the following hours, the price of bitcoin fell 20%to eventually stabilize at a floor price of 480 euros.
For 5 years, the stolen funds remained untraceable. Then in 2022, when the facts already seemed to belong to the past, an American couple was arrested for money laundering. Better yet: authorities said they found the stolen bitcoins. The money will be used to reimburse victims of the 2016 hack.
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4. Binance: €101 million
In early October 2022, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, came close to disaster. Hackers have managed to steal 2 million BNBthe platform’s official currency, roughly 569 million euros.
Specifically, the hackers used a security breach to create additional BNB. They then transferred the funds to other blockchains. Ready though 80% Illegal funds could have been immediately frozen by Binance.
Therefore the worst has been seen. And the pirates left alone 101 million eurosaccording to information provided by Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance.
3. Wormhole: 330 million euros
A wormhole is a bridge, ie a service for sending funds between different blockchains using a smart contract. This protocol quickly became popular because it connects the Solana blockchain to other widely used blockchains, such as Ethereum, Polygon or Avalanche.
But on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, shortly before 10:00 p.m., the developers of The Wormhole warned users that an attack was in progress. Then the news broke: the hacker exploited a flaw in the code to get away 120,000 Ethereum tokensis around 330 million euros at the time of flight.
The developers tried to contact the fraudster to ask him to return the stolen funds. They offered him a reward of 10 million euros change. But their request remained a dead letter. And the funds were never found.
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2. Ronin: 561 million euros
Ronin is a secondary blockchain of the Ethereum network, created by SkyMavis, the publisher of the very popular Axie Infinity, an online fighting game. On March 23, Ronin suffered one of the biggest heists in crypto history.
Hackers took over 173600 Ethereum tokens AND 25.5 million USDC tokens, a stable currency backed by the dollar. Balance Sheet? At the time of the robbery, the loot was valued at approx 561 million euros.
A few months later, the FBI and the company Chainalysis announced that they had recovered 30.4 million euros flights while hacking. The rest of the funds and the authors of the hack currently remain untraceable.
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1. Poly Network: 610 million euros
The biggest crypto hack of all time happened in August 2021. Poly Network, a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform announces that it was the victim of a hack. Host amount: 610 million euros.
In its communications, Poly Network asked the hacker to cooperate and return the stolen funds. Law enforcement in any country will consider this a major economic crime and you will be prosecuted, the company insisted.
A reaction that may seem naive. And yet: soon after, the hacker contacted Poly Network. At first, his intentions were not very clear. Maybe I’ll give some signs back or leave them there, he said in particular.
But after some exchanges, the one who now calls himself Mr. White Hat agreed to return the funds. He even claims to have exploited the flaw with the sole purpose of securing the funds before other hackers could take advantage of them.
Poly Network has since stated that it does not intend to hold Mr. White Hat. The company also offered the hacker a job as chief security officer and a reward 508,000 euros for finding the void.
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