Billions were stolen in blockchain hacks last year

The total value of the losses from 122 attacks in 2020 would be worth $3.8 billion today.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor
(Image: Maxpixel)

We know how some hackers passed away their time during the lockdown: By running Bitcoin-related hacks and potentially netting "nearly $3.78 billion" in 2020, according to a report from Atlas VPN.

The losses are huge but not at the level Atlas VPN claims because it used mid-January 2021 values rather than at the time of the breach. 

Data collected by Slowmist Hacked showed that there were 122 attacks in 2020, targeting three major areas:

  • Decentralized apps running on the Ethereum platform had 47 attacks (current value $437 million) 
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges had 28 attacks (current value $300 million in losses)
  • 27 attacks on blockchain wallets

Wallets were the most lucrative target, with $3 billion in losses in current values and an average of $112 million per wallet hacking event compared to about $10 million per attack on Ethereum apps or exchanges.

The good news is that there was a slight decrease in the number of blockchain-related attacks, with an 8% drop from 133 attacks in 2019, and this number is expected to drop further in 2021.

Fewer attacks, but the scale of the losses could dramatically mushroom if the value of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies maintains a strong momentum as they did in 2020.


The "$3.8 billion" stolen that Atlas VPN claims are greatly inflated because they are based on Jan. 12, 2021 conversion rates -- not even on end-of-the -ear values, let alone the value at the time of the breach. The continued rise in the value of cryptocurrencies makes the total losses look much larger.

Bitcoin on Jan. 12 was worth $34,100. It was valued at $4,857 in March and finished the year nearly six times higher at $28,897.40. 

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