Visualizing History's Biggest Crypto-Heists

The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck had to admit having been targeted by hackers who got away with NEM coins worth half a billion dollars on Friday.

As Statista's infographic based on data by news agency Bloomberg shows, this wasn't the first such heist.

Infographic: The Biggest Crypto Heists  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

In 2014, the crypto exchange Mt. Gox lost digital currency worth some 480 million dollars. The company based in Tokyo said it had probably been stolen and had to file for bankruptcy in the United States and Japan shortly after. It had been one of the leading bitcoin exchanges.

Coincheck for its part has assuaged its customers that any losses would be refunded, and further reassuring investors - sending the price of the hacked NEM surging higher - developers behind NEM created an automated tagging system to track down the funds stolen by hackers.

As CoinTelegraph reports, the NEM development team created an automated tagging system to ensure that all funds stolen from Coincheck are traced. By tagging stolen funds as tainted funds, cryptocurrency exchanges can now easily verify if stolen NEM funds are withdrawn or deposited to regulated trading platforms.


Image Courtesy of CoinTelegraph

“Hack update: NEM is creating an automated tagging system that will be ready in 24-48 hours. This automated system will follow the money and tag any account that receives tainted money. NEM has already shown exchanges how to check if an account has been tagged. So the good news is that the money that was hacked via exchanges can't leave,” said a NEM spokesperson.

During an interview, NEM Foundation vice president Jeff McDonald confirmed the development of the tagging system and the work NEM Foundation will lead in the next few weeks to prevent stolen funds from being cashed out or converted to other cryptocurrencies through trading platforms.

As of now, the hackers behind the Coincheck NEM security breach are out of options. It is not possible for the hackers to convert the stolen NEM to other major cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum because the automated tagging system will immediately alert exchanges about the tainted funds.

Due to the sheer size of the stolen funds, it is also not likely that the hackers will go through small-scale cryptocurrency exchanges to convert or launder the stolen funds.

At this stage, the only safe option for the hackers is to hold onto the stolen NEM. Because of the technology NEM has developed in light of the recent Coincheck hack, it has become significantly difficult for the hackers to do anything with the funds. It is not possible to cash out the stolen NEM to fiat currencies like the US dollar and it is also not possible to convert the stolen funds to other cryptocurrencies.

NEM, its open-source development community, and the NEM Foundation did not have to develop the tagging system for the benefit of Coincheck, specifically because stolen funds on the NEM blockchain network would still have circulated around the network even if they are not recovered. But, NEM developers have done Coincheck and investors that lost millions of dollars in the hacking attack a tremendous favor by voluntarily creating a solution to a serious problem.


Surging Chaos Tue, 01/30/2018 - 00:15 Permalink

Parity was not a heist. A lot of Ethereum was lost from that disaster, but no one actually was able to claim it all.

There was a fatal bug with Parity that allowed anyone to send a call to transfer funds to a wallet that could not dispense ETH. Basically, all of the ETH is locked in an alternate dimension that everyone can see, but not touch. You could say that the Ether was sent... into the ether.

Laowei Gweilo ebworthen Tue, 01/30/2018 - 02:58 Permalink

if South Seas Co. is BTC but securitized colonization is cryptocurrencies, you could still say it's bullish ;p

while SSC was a huge loser, there were a lot of winners on betting on West Indies industry and trade hehehe Hudson's Bay issued joint-stock seventy years later after it was reaching an upwards of 18% return on capital, and they'd pay out almost 70% of all profit in dividends. Dutch East India also paid out roughly an 18% dividend yield for 17th-19th centuries.

so, you could say that joint-stock colonial investments ended up being a financial revolution for most of the 1700s and 1800s, despite the way the SSC started the 18th century =)

by the same token, the internet had company bubbles but both the technology and industry ("tech") and how it changed equity valuations/raising capital both ended up sticking around hehe

so i'd never just capital-raising colonialism, the tech sector and modern capital-raising, or cryptos on just 1 actor being a bubble =)

In reply to by ebworthen

ThaBigPerm Laowei Gweilo Tue, 01/30/2018 - 03:11 Permalink

Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. We just need to figure out what he's after.

Alfred: With all due respect, Master Wayne, perhaps this is a man that you don't fully understand. When I was in Burma, a long time ago, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we started looking for the stones. But after six months, we couldn't find anyone who had traded with him. One day I found a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing the stones away.

Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?

Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

zebra77a ThaBigPerm Tue, 01/30/2018 - 06:12 Permalink

Nothing in Crypto is real:

The 'market cap' and 'volume' in all exchanges can be fake bots trading fake crypto against themselves.  I estimate the 'market cap' is inflated about 800% MINIMUM.  There is no '$300 Billion' in market cap that went into the exchanges.

Once your money goes into the exchange they sell you FAKE CRYPTO not on any blockchain. They also can then make FAKE BOTS with FAKE BALANCES that create FAKE VOLUME.  People then infer analysis from this seeing 'climbing prices' and 'climbing market cap'

If bot a with a fake balance of 10 bitcoin trades against bot b with a fake balance of $200,000 is there a market cap activity of ~$300,000?

It is paying REAL MONEY to play on a crypto SIMULATOR.

Since the exchanges are COMPLETELY UNREGULATED. They can and are keeping account balances at their whim, and when too many people call them out - blame a hacker, keep the balances, and close down the exchange.

Ask yourself if 100,000 accounts are distributed in a database table and ALL of them magically are 'drained' blaming a hacker, how did the hacker take them all when every single bitcoin transaction takes 6 MINUTES?

the Exchanges are harvesting client accounts.  The latest to close in South Korea timed there's right before South Korean Government regulation came in..


In reply to by ThaBigPerm

nomofiat Surging Chaos Tue, 01/30/2018 - 00:21 Permalink

that parity bug is not an isolated event. It happened on account of ethereum's buggy as hell coding language solidity. Expect many more smart contracts running on ethereum to fail because of solidity.

But hey, solidity has a very low barrier of entry so anyone with a 'java for dummies' course can now start coding money on ethereum.

What could possibly go wrong?

In reply to by Surging Chaos

shitshitshit DC Beastie Boy Tue, 01/30/2018 - 07:09 Permalink

Cryptsy fucked up everyone, whereas BTC-e was robbed at gunpoint by the FBI crooks you so love for their handy work on this memo affair etc.

If you read the news you will see they reopened under a new moniker ( and actually refunded their customers for the FBI hold up they have fallen victims to. 

This is the second time this exchange refunds his customers out of their own pockets further a damaging event, which is a testimony to their honesty and integrity. Not that many exchanges could claim to have done even half of it. 

Lastly, it should be noted that they trade in $$ and not in tether, which adds to their credibility, if there still was any doubt about it. 

In reply to by DC Beastie Boy

jthepapershredder Tue, 01/30/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

They cant launder the NEM through 'regulated' exchanges

Good thing for the hackers that there's tons of unregulated platforms out there... that shits as good as gone



nomofiat Tue, 01/30/2018 - 00:24 Permalink

So NEM is a centralised coin that can freeze user funds at will.

Great for the likes of wikileaks. 

The whole fucking point of crypto is having irreversible transactions. 

Mine Is Bigger Tue, 01/30/2018 - 00:29 Permalink

Is it a good thing that the NEM developer community can create such a tagging system on a whim?

The fact this is possible means the NEM is highly centralized and can be easily manipulated by a dominant interest or coerced into adopting some measures under government pressure.


Golden Showers Tue, 01/30/2018 - 02:39 Permalink

Oh, shit. Don't forget the biggest heist of all: The Central Banks, IMF, BIS, and the FED. These crypto fags are like pennies in a UNICEF box when I was 7 on all Hallows Eve ringing doorbells.

Ink Pusher Tue, 01/30/2018 - 09:48 Permalink

Just over a Billion in theft losses ,averaging 300 million per year and growing with every hack.

How much more do they have to lose before classification and assignment of realistic risk?