The US$500m heist of digital tokens from Japanese exchange Coincheck on Friday is remarkable for its sheer size, but thefts in the lightly regulated world of cryptocurrencies are woefully frequent.
In less than a decade, hackers have stolen $1.2bn worth of bitcoin and ether, two of the most popular digital currencies, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at Autonomous Research. If measured at today’s elevated prices, the figure would be much higher.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest thefts since 2012.
NiceHash, a crypto-mining marketplace based in Slovenia, said on its Facebook page that its payment system was compromised and as much as $63m worth of bitcoin was stolen. The firm added extra security measures and sought the community’s help to analyse the breach. Youbit said it would file for bankruptcy hours after losing 17% of its assets in a cyberattack. The South Korean exchange had suffered what it called an “accident” in April and its owner encouraged clients to keep their tokens in a safer form. South Korean investigators are looking into North Korea’s possible involvement in the hack.
A security hole in the Parity Wallet resulted in losses of about $155m, including in ether and other tokens. The company behind tether said a “malicious” attacker stole $31m worth of the cryptocurrency and sent them to an unauthorised bitcoin address.
A group calling itself the White Hat Group exploited a bug in the Parity Wallet software and attempted to launder stolen ether, valued at about $30m according to Security Week, through exchanges. Just minutes after CoinDash’s launch of an initial coin offering, hackers made off with as much as $6.6m worth of ether. The Israel-based firm terminated its token sale.
A Bithumb contract worker’s personal computer that stored customers’ data files was hacked, resulting in the leak of personal and trading information of more than 30 000 users. The South Korean crypto-exchange was fined 58.5m won ($55 000) by the local regulator for the breach.
Bitfinex said hackers took 119 756 Bitcoin, valued at about $65m. In April 2017, the exchange said it had repaid all customers.
Decentralised Autonomous Organisation, a leaderless venture-capital fund and what was then the highest-profile project using ethereum, was hacked. About $50m of members’ contributions to the fund were siphoned off.
Hong Kong-based Gatecoin had about $2m in bitcoin and ether stolen following a cyberattack.
Two former US federal agents who helped probe the illegal Silk Road Internet drug emporium were charged with wrongfully pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bitcoin.
Bitstamp’s CEO reassured customers that the bulk of their bitcoins were safe after $5m of the coins were stolen, according to a Fortune report.
Mt Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, reported that tokens valued at about $480m had gone missing. The firm filed for bankruptcy in Japan and the US, and said the disappearance was probably the result of a “massive theft”.
BitFloor, based in New York, lost about $250 000 in Bitcoin after it was hacked. Months later in April 2013, the exchange announced it would shut and refund customer deposits, Bitcoin Magazine reported. — Reported by Andrea Tan and Yuji Nakamura, with assistance from Benjamin Robertson, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP