Binance in at #5: 9 of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange hacks

08 May, 2019
Binance in at #5: 9 of the biggest cryptocurrency exchange hacks

Exchanges being hacked is most certainly not a new trend. Cryptocurrency exchanges have been the target of hackers since as early as 2011. This list covers 9 of the most high profile hacks on cryptocurrency exchanges based on the value in USD when the hack occured, including the latest 7074 BTC hack of Binance that occured on May 7, 2019. 

The USD value is the total worth of the stolen funds at the time of the hack. 

9. Cryptopia: $16 - $23 million estimated
Well known for listing an array of “shitcoins” to trade, Cryptopia saw its popularity sky-rocket during the 2017 bull run, with traders capitalizing on obscure altcoins. The New Zealand based exchange suffered an estimated $16 million hack when hackers managed to gain access to over 17,000 Ethereum wallets and drained the exchange of over 1,675 Ether and multiple ERC-20 tokens. The exchange announced the total loss to be 9.4% of the company's total holdings. While an exact amount has never been announced, it is estimated to be in the region of $16 to $23 million lost.

8. Bancor: $23.5 million
Decentralized cryptocurrency exchange Bancor had the awkward job of informing clients that the “decentralized” exchange had managed to lose $23.5 million worth of customer funds when one of Bancor’s wallets that was used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised by hackers. The hackers made off with $12.5 million in Ether, $1 million in NPXS token and $10 million in Bancors native token BNT. The exchange received massive attention for not actually being decentralized, with Litecoin founder Charlie Lee commenting on the hack, saying “An exchange is not decentralized if it can lose customer funds OR if it can freeze customer funds. Bancor can do BOTH. It's a false sense of decentralization.”

7. Bithumb: $30 million (also $13 million last month)
South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb was hit with a $30 million hack in June 2018, that saw an estimated $30 million in XRP hacked from the exchange. The hack remained somewhat low profile and the company at one stage admitted it would pay back users that were affected by the hack.

Bithumb was recently hacked again, with the hackers making off with $6 million in XRP and roughly $13 million in EOS. However, while the investigation is still ongoing, it is believed the second hack was an inside job with employees committing the hack.

6. Coinrail: $40 million
South Korean exchanges and 2018 had a lot in common, there were lots of hacks occurred during this time and South Korean exchanges suffered the most. Another South Korean exchange suffered a massive hack of $40 million. The hack targeted ERC-20 tokens with some of the coins including 1,927 ether, 2.6 billion NPXS, 93 million ATX and 831 million DENT coins among others.

5. Binance: $41.6 million
Binance was long considered the safest exchange in cryptocurrency, but lost its virginity, as CEO Changpeng Zhao stated, on May 7 2019, when 7074 BTC (worth $41.6 million at the time of writing) was stolen from the exchange. The bitcoins were taken from multiple wallets that the hackers got access to by obtaining user API keys, 2FA codes and other info through phishing and viruses. Binance fully compensated affected users from the SAFU fund. 

4. Bitfinex: $72 million
Bitfinex, which at the time of the hack in 2016, was the biggest cryptocurrency exchange at the time. The exchange was also hit by the biggest hack since Mt.Gox, with an estimated $72 million in BTC hacked from the exchange. While the hack was a huge loss for the company, Bitfinex has managed to continue business in an impressive feat where the company introduced a compensation plan featuring an internal token as well as offering shares within the company. Bitfinex managed to complete the entire process within eight months of the hack. The exchange has since received 28 BTC said to be proceeds from the 2016 hack.

3. Bitgrail: $170 million
While the Bitgrail hack will not be well known to most traders, anyone who was invested in Raiblocks, now known as the project NANO, will be well aware of Bitgrail. The Italian based exchange was a small obscure exchange, which at one point was the only place to trade Raiblocks.  Raiblocks was touted as an up and coming project which began to gain popularity. With most of the circulating supply being traded on Bitgrail, the hack would eventually see the demise of Bitgrail exchange, as well as 17 million NANO. NANO at the time was pushing double digits at around $10 when the hack occured. Users on the exchange lost a combined $170 million. Bitgrails former owner Francesco Firano, has since been sentenced to return as much of the assets to his customers as possible.

2. Mt Gox: $450 million
Undoubtedly the most well known hack in history, Mt Gox saw the biggest hack in history with a total of over 850,000 BTC hacked from the exchange. It is highly unlikely a hack of that magnitude of Bitcoin, will ever be seen again as at the time of the hack, Mt Gox was trading over 70% of the BTC supply. The 2014 hack remained the largest hack in history until the Coincheck hack of early 2018.

1. Coincheck: $530 million
Coincheck took over the top spot in 2018, following a 500 million NEM token hack in early 2018. The Tokyo based exchange now holds the record for the largest hack in history. NEM was trading at over $1.00 when the hack occured, estimating the total loss in excess of $530.

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