In 2022, CoinJournal’s research revealed a shocking record high in cryptocurrency-related frauds and breaches – 120 incidents worth £1,866,240,500. This alarming statistic demonstrates a 27.66% rise from 2021 figures alone – leading to devastating financial losses for crypto investors across the globe. Unsurprisingly, it has raised questions about whether or not crypto is as secure an investment option as many had previously thought.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the most significant crypto disasters of 2022, such as Plus Token Ponzi scheme, Ronin and Wormhole’s DeFi break-ins, and Thodex Fraud.
Following DeFi breaches, the second most common type of crypto attack was fraud, with 36 frauds occurring in 2022, an increase of over 140% from 2021.
New research by CoinJournal, based on available data around major breaches and fraud since 2012, found that crypto hacks and fraud reached a record high in 2022, with incidents up 27.66% from 2021.
The list of year-on-year changes of crypto breaches and fraud puts 2022 at the top, with 120 incidents worth a total of £1,866,240,500 – a 27.66% increase from 2021, which saw 94 incidents amounting to £4,037,707,250.
Although there were more incidents in 2022 (120 vs 94), there was a significant drop in the value of digital assets (£1,866,240,500 in 2022 vs £4,037,707,250 in 2021). The main reason behind this is that crypto entered a bear market in 2022. Digital assets fell from sharply from their all-time highs against fiat currencies.
Crypto frauds and breaches keep increasing
2020 was much calmer, with 31 incidents totalling £1,299,391,750 worth of digital assets lost to breaches and fraud. The year 2019 experienced 26 incidents worth £3,052,262,500. In 2018, incidents were 15 and were valued at £849,401,050. In 2017, incidents were 14, worth £563,360,450.
“2022 was the worst year for crypto fraud and breaches, with 120 different incidents occurring during the year. This was 26 more than the previous year, which equates to an increase of almost 28%”, said CoinJournal. “The most common crypto attack was DeFi breaches, happening 80 times in 2022 alone, accounting for over 66% of all incidents.”
Following DeFi breaches, the second most common type of crypto attack was fraud, with 36 frauds occurring in 2022, an increase of over 140% from 2021. The biggest fraud of 2022 was worth £53,940,000.
“The United States is the most commonly targeted country, with 13 hacks and breaches since 2011. The most recent was in July 2020 when hackers got into verified Twitter accounts and launched a fake donation campaign”, the report continued. “The most costly crypto scam was by Plus Token, where almost $3 billion worth of Bitcoin and Ethereum was stolen.”
BSC was the most stolen coin in 2022, with the currency being stolen a total of 50 times. This was a 72% increase from 2021 when it was stolen just 29 times. The second most commonly stolen coin was ETH at 33 times.
Biggest fraud was the Plus Token Ponzi in 2019: $2.9 billion
Ronin’s DeFi breach was the largest attack in 2022, worth $650,000,000 of ETH and ERC20, followed by Wormhole’s $326,000,000 worth of Solana (SOL).
In 2021, the Thodex fraud in Turkey, worth $2 billion, was the largest incident, followed by PolyNetwork’s DeFi breach valued at $614,000,000.
In 2020, WoToken’s $1 billion fraud and KuCoin’s $281 million breach topped the incidents of that year, but the biggest attack ever, according to CoinJournal’s research was the Plus Token Ponzi in 2019: $2,9 billion worth of BTC and ETH.
CoinJournal’s latest research reveals that crypto-related breaches, scams, and frauds skyrocketed in 2022 to a staggering 120 cases with losses worth more than £1.8 billion! DeFi-related incidents were the most frequent type of attack by far, comprising 66% of all occurrences (80 times), while fraudulent activities increased an astonishing 140% from 2021 to 36 documented events last year.
The United States is the most frequently attacked country for crypto crimes, and 2019’s Plus Token Ponzi was one of its biggest financial losses yet – amounting to almost $3 billion in stolen Bitcoin and Ethereum. In 2021, there have been even more noteworthy incidents, such as Ronin’s DeFi breach, Wormhole’s security violation, and Thodex Fraud. Together, these comprise a substantial sum that has impacted numerous people worldwide.