Crypto Heists in HistoryLargest | Empirex Capital

Crypto Heists in HistoryLargest

From the Mt. Gox attack to the Poly Network hack, here is a list of the top crypto heists that will go down as the greatest tragedies in crypto history.

One might argue that the critics were entirely correct in the early years of crypto. The Mt. Gox exchange, one of the earliest and largest crypto thefts, still remains an example of gross negligence and incompetence that resulted in massive security breaches and subsequent loss of over $400 million worth of Bitcoins.

However, today we will look at the history of the biggest crypto heists of all time and it will be clear that the situation is improving. Empirex Capital is clear that government involvement and industry-wide self-regulation initiatives have significantly improved security measures across all major crypto exchanges.

Poly Network Hack

Date of attack: Aug. 10, 2021

Value of assets lost: $610 million

The hack of Poly Network, a cross-chain interoperability protocol for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Neo (NEO), and other cryptocurrencies, is the largest confirmed crypto heist in history — as well as one of the most recent ones. Poly Network’s cross-chain transactions feature allows users to send assets among different blockchains without converting them via an exchange.

As explained by software engineer Kelvin Fichter, the protocol creates digital self-managing lockboxes on two different blockchains. It then allows a user to withdraw funds from one lockbox only after it receives a message from the other lockbox that the corresponding amount of assets has been deposited into it.

A hacker, or group of hackers, has managed to find a way to trick a lockbox into releasing the funds stored in it without receiving legitimate permission from another blockchain. They exploited this vulnerability on Aug, 10, to steal a total of over $610 million.

Coincheck Hack

Date of attack: Jan. 26, 2018

Value of assets lost: $534 million

Coincheck is a fairly popular Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that unknown hackers attacked in January 2018. Around 523 million NEM (XEM) tokens, worth over $530 million at the time, were illicitly sent from its address on Jan. 26, followed by an abnormal decrease in the exchange’s balance.

By Coincheck’s own admission, the attack was enabled by the technical difficulties and a shortage of employees faced by the company, resulting in poor security practices. The stolen NEM were stored on a hot wallet that was connected to the internet, instead of an offline cold wallet, which is the standard industry practice as it provides an extra layer of protection from remote attacks.

Created on 1st Sep 2021

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