Over $750 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen by hackers and other malicious actors from cryptocurrency exchanges in the first half of 2018, three times more than the total amount stolen in the course of 2017.
A new report on the global anti-money laundering market published by blockchain forensics company CipherTrace on July 4 revealed that around $761 million was stolen from digital currency exchanges in the first six months of 2018, compared with about $266 million for the whole of 2017.
The single biggest hack of 2018 occurred in January, when $530 worth of the NEM altcoin was stolen from Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck. In June, about $40 million was stolen from South Korean exchange Coinrail and $30 million was taken in a hack on major South Korean exchange Bithumb.
According to CipherTrace, hackers must then launder stolen crypto in order to make it appear legitimate before trying to cash out via the financial system. Cryto heists are facilitated by the pseudo--anonymous nature of many cryptocurrencies, which help criminals hide their identities and avoid the law.
Longer term consequences of this trend will include increasingly strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations and requirements, according to the report.