Bitcoin Exchange Hack Leads Surging Tally of Crypto Stolen in 2024: TRM Labs

Hackers stole more than twice as much cryptocurrency in the first half of 2024—based on the U.S. dollar value of the coins—compared to the first six months of 2023, according to a recent report by blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs.

Crypto thefts totaled $1.38 billion up through June 24 of this year, more than double the $657 million stolen as of the same time in 2023. Total crypto thefts thus far in 2024 have already nearly reached the $1.7 billion in value stolen across all of last year, per TRM data.

Just a handful of incidents made up the bulk of value stolen in both cases. The largest five hacks of the year so far accounted for 70% of the total amount swiped. Notable incidents include the theft of more than 4,500 BTC valued at over $300 million from Japanese exchange DMM Bitcoin in May, potentially due to stolen private keys or address poisoning.

Per TRM, the most prominent attack vectors remain private key and seed phrase compromises, smart contract exploits, and flash loan attacks. The firm found no notable changes in the security of the cryptocurrency ecosystem or the number of attacks between last year and this year. However, crypto prices have been much higher on average so far this year, which may be boosting the tally.

No single month in 2024 so far has been an outlier, with theft volumes higher in each of the first six months of the year than the corresponding month in 2023. Still, 2024 crypto thefts remain well below 2022 figures so far.

It’s another sign of the far-reaching impact of major hacks, which traders have recently been reminded of as long-defunct exchange Mt. Gox—the target of one of the earliest crypto hacks more than a decade ago—has transferred $2.7 billion in BTC as it begins repaying creditors.

Earlier Friday, the price of Bitcoin fell below $54,000, its lowest level since February, following the Mt. Gox news.

While hacks have been a concern throughout the history of cryptocurrency, and they are not getting easier for the ecosystem to avoid, TRM recommends investors and organizations implement a multi-layered defense strategy. That includes periodic security audits, encryption, and multisig wallets to best protect crypto assets.

Decrypt reached out to TRM Labs for additional detail or comment around the report, but did not immediately receive a response.

Edited by Andrew Hayward

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