Centralized exchanges lost nearly $11B to hackers over the past decade Centralized exchanges lost nearly $11B to hackers over the past decade

Centralized exchanges lost nearly $11B to hackers over the past decade

Exchanges have suffered 118 hacks during the time period. The two largest hacks took place in 2021 and account for almost $5 billion of the total.

Centralized exchanges lost nearly $11B to hackers over the past decade

Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate. Image includes combined content which may include AI-generated content.

The crypto industry has lost slightly more than $30 billion to hackers since 2012, with over 30% of that ($10.95 billion) stolen from centralized exchanges, as revealed by research conducted by blockchain security firm SlowMist.

The security firm reported that between 2012 and 2023, these exchanges endured 118 hacks, with the two most significant ones occurring in 2021 and representing almost $5 billion of the overall losses.

The data also indicates that the majority of large-scale hacks took place during bullish market cycles.

In comparison, hackers have managed to extract less than $1 billion directly from blockchain networks and cryptocurrency wallets during this period. Hot wallets alone have suffered losses amounting to $408.9 million, whereas blockchain networks have lost a relatively smaller sum of $207.2 million to malicious actors.

The non-fungible token (NFT) sector has incurred losses amounting to $200 million, primarily due to phishing links and social engineering scams.

Finally, bridge protocol hacks have accounted for just over $2 billion of the total funds stolen during this period.

Ecosystem losses

The data reveals that Ethereum and BNB Chain (formerly Binance Smart Chain) have been the hardest hit by hackers in terms of both the number of hacks and the amount of money lost.

Hackers have pilfered $3.1 billion from the Ethereum ecosystem via 217 separate hacks. BNB Chain, on the other hand, has seen losses of $1.45 billion across 162 distinct hacks.

Despite being the third most frequently targeted, the EOS ecosystem has comparatively lost a much smaller sum, totaling $25.9 million. In contrast, Solana and Polygon have experienced substantial losses of $202.7 million and $177.9 million, respectively, despite fewer attacks – 13 for Solana and 16 for Polygon.

The Avalanche network has been compromised eight times, resulting in a cumulative loss of $127.7 million.

The research also includes data from chains such as Tron, Fantom, Polkadot, and HECO. Collectively, these chains have endured fewer than 50 hacks and lost less than $200 million.

Finally, the remaining $10.9 billion of the total stolen funds falls under the “Other” category as per SlowMist. This category encompasses all other types of blockchain hacks, scams, rug pulls, and various forms of digital theft not explicitly mentioned.

Posted In: Exchanges, Hacks