The first nine months of 2018 have proven to be a fluctuating time for the cryptocurrency world. While many people are focusing on the way that the prices have been moving for their favorite tokens, they may not have realized how many hacks and thefts have taken place. A new document from CipherTrace reveals many of those details.
The report is titled “Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering 2018 Q3,” which starts by showing a theft of $927 million from cryptocurrency exchanges, along with other platforms. These losses are substantially higher than what 2017 saw, which only amounted to $266 million.
Based on the average rate and speed that these cybercriminals are working, CipherTrace predicts that the total amount lost in 2018 will be over $1 billion by the end of December.
The biggest of these hacks seems to be with Coincheck, a Japanese exchange that watched over half a billion dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency sneak out under their nose. Other substantial breeches included:
- BitGrail platform, Italy, $195 million
- Zaif platform, Japan, $60 million
- Coinrail platform, South Korea, over $40 million
- Bithumb platform, South Korea, over $30 million
- Bancor token creation platform, $23.5 million
- Geth Ethereum client, $20 million
Most of these bigger attacks were enough to get their own headline this year, but the “smaller” thefts were still substantial, ranging from $20 million to $60 million. The total of this group was $166 million, just since the report issued in the second quarter.
The report also says, “This data indicates a pattern of smaller robberies on a regular basis and sophisticated professional cyber thieves who carry out hacks at both the exchange and platform levels by capitalizing on exposed vulnerabilities, as well as by socially engineering employees who work at these companies.”
Some figures were unable to be confirmed at the time of publishing the report, like CoinHoarders $50-million phishing theft. The creators of the paper noted that, if the thefts and figures could be validated, then they would add them to the final report for 2018. Furthermore, there seem to be additional thefts found that were not added, like a $60 million hack that has yet to make it to the public.
About 97% of the thefts of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were moved to platforms that were more lenient with their anti-money laundering protocol. The passive exchanges have been involved with over 380,000 BTC in money laundering.
To help prevent additional thefts, governments around the world are tightening their laws to prevent these issues. However, there are a substantial number of legislators that see the lack of compliance with anti-money laundering laws as the culprit, which they are working to make stricter. CEO of CipherTrace, Dave Jevans, said,
“Different geographies are competing on regulations and trying to become ‘trusted' digital currency hubs in order to grow their economies. We will see the opportunities to launder cryptocurrencies greatly reduced in the coming 18 months as cryptocurrency AML regulations are rolled out globally.”
Tech Bureau, which is the firm in charge of Zaif, has decided to compensate users after a recent hack last month. Bancor, luckily, managed to block one substantial transfer that would’ve been another theft, which means their actual loss is $13.5 million. The potential transfer would’ve involved 2.5 million BNT tokens.