Hackers have Stolen over 1 million of the 21 Million Bitcoins that will ever Exist
Since 2011, hackers have been out to steal Bitcoins from those who own it especially on exchanges. According to data from Chainanalysis, over a billion dollars were stolen through hacks on exchanges alone. It is estimated that Satoshi Nakamoto has like a million Bitcoins but the hackers may have stolen more than that in the ten years of Bitcoin’s existence.
Mt Gox for instance got hacked for the first time in 2011 and $8.7 million worth of Bitcoin was reported missing. Several users of the exchange lost money worth over 200,000 BTC and have not been able to get back their payments. The exchange eventually closed down in February 2014 after filing for bankruptcy.
Incidences of exchange hacks have increased since then up to today. Just recently, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by adjusted traded volume was hacked and over $41 million were stolen in Bitcoin. Although the exchange has since recovered from the incidence, further investigation is going on to ascertain how the hack was executed and ways to prevent any further occurrence.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao proposed a Bitcoin blockchain reorg to get back the stolen BTC but was strongly opposed and later abandoned the proposal with an apology. All these hacks add up to a lot of money adding up to billions of dollars.
Many other exchanges like Mt Gox have suffered irreparable damage as a result of hacks. Some have hardly been heard of in recent times like Vircurex Exchange which lost 1,666 BTC in a 2013 hack. Some exchanges were however the ones who stole users BTC rather than being hacked. Bitstamp was also a victim when its hot wallet was hacked and 19,000 BTC was stolen as well as hot wallet that lost 1,500 BTC and in 2016 lost another 120,000 BTC in a bigger hack.
Although many exchanges have suffered at the hand of hackers, some have actually stolen funds from their users. For instance, an exchange Bitmarket.eu duped its users of $400 million worth of BTC while GBL Exchange conned its customers out of nearly 10,000 BTC. Bitcoin exit scams however are not as common now as external hacks and do not lead to as much stolen funds as hacks.