Cryptocurrency heists witness 55% drop to $1.7 billion in 2023

  • Stolen crypto declined to $1.7 billion in 2023, hacking instances increased to 231.
  • Experts attribute the decline in stolen funds to DeFi services.
  • North Korea is a major player in cryptocurrency hacking.

The threat of cryptocurrency hacking has grown over the last several years, exposing weaknesses in the ecosystem and resulting in billions of dollars being stolen from cryptocurrency platforms. 2022 saw $3.7 billion taken in cryptocurrency, making it the highest year ever. Nonetheless, the amount of money taken in 2023 fell by around 54.3% to $1.7 billion, even though more specific hacking incidents.

Drop in stolen crypto but hacks rise

Despite the stolen amount being more than half, there were 231 hacking instances in total last year, compared to 219 in 2022. This increase was partly caused by the collapse of several well-known exchanges and the significant reduction in the value of cryptocurrencies.

Experts in chainalysis attributed the decline in stolen funds to cyberattacks targeting decentralized finance (DeFi) services, enabling users to borrow money, make price predictions, and exchange.

“Hacks of DeFi protocols largely drove the huge increase in stolen crypto in 2021 and 2022, with cybercriminals stealing more than $3.1 billion in DeFi hacks in 2022. But in 2023, hackers stole just $1.1 billion from DeFi protocols. The amounts to a 63.7% drop in the total value stolen from DeFi platforms year-over-year. There was also a significant drop in the share of all funds stolen accounted for by DeFi protocol victims in 2023,” the researchers said.

Also read: Hackers never seem to be satisfied with cryptocurrency theft!

$1 billion for North Korea

Threat actors from North Korea constitute a significant element within the cryptocurrency hacking ecosystem. They have pilfered billions from cryptocurrency platforms to bolster their government and aid in nuclear weapons development.

Approximately $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen in 2022 by North Korean cyber espionage outfits, including Kimsuky and Lazarus Group. Although the number of incidents associated with the country increased to 20, the highest ever recorded, that figure decreased to $1 billion in 2023.

Prior to this, North Korea has refuted claims of hacking and other online attacks.

Also read: North Korean Hackers Suspected in Major Cryptocurrency Heists  


Sylvia Shen

Sylvia Shen, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from University of California, Davis. Send tips to

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