By Margarita Vznuzdaeva
June 7th, 2018

Most notable hacks

The brief story of the most expensive hacker attacks

Most notable hacks

By Margarita Vznuzdaeva
June 7th, 2018

The brief story of the most expensive hacker attacks

According to the Crypto Aware investigation, 2018 has become the year of the greatest earnings and losses. If last year amounted to a total loss of $2,679,045,200 USD, this ongoing 2018 has already suffered about $1,659,580,000 USD!

Crypto Aware provides numerical indicators with a remark that all USD estimated value is based on the average market value at the time of the hack.

Bitcoin and Ethereum seem to be two of the most recognized and trustworthy digital cryptos, that’s why these assets seem attract hackers.

The biggest Bitcoin hack happened with MtGox back in February of 2014. As the Guardian reported, more than 750 000 bitcoins (nearly $450 million) went missing from the exchange platform. The Tokyo-based web just became a blank page with a short statement, sort of explaining the situation to “MtGox customers”:

“In the event of recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations and the market, a decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being in order to protect the site and our users. We will be closely monitoring the situation and will react accordingly”

The biggest Ethereum hack was connected with the DAO incident back in June of 2016. Coindesk reported the loss of 3,6 million Ether(equivalent of $60 million). As the result of this attack, Ethereum blockchain went through a hard fork.

Let’s take a look at the most “expensive” hacks of the last years.

Attention! This table doesn’t include Ponzi Schemes and scams, but you can find information about them there.



Top 10 of cryptomarket hacks

Date Name of the hack Total amount
February 2014 Already mentioned above MtGox hack $450,000,000
January 2018 Coincheck hack $400,000,000
February 2018 BitGrail Theft $170,000,000
November 2017 Parity Wallet suicides $160,000,000


With a large numerical difference, but with no less tangible impact on the community, the following attacks are also listed:


August 2016 Bitfinex hack $77,000,000
December 2017 NiceHash Hack $62,000,000
June 2016 Described above DAO hack $60,000,000
July 2017 Parity wallet hack $30,000,000
November 2017 Tether Token Hack $30,000,000

The hacks of exchanges

Coincheck is one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan so it getting hacked had a strong impact on the community. According to Bloomberg, with about $400 million NEM stolen, NEM, Bitcoin and Ethereum dropped in price from 3,4% (Bitcoin) to 11% (NEM). Japan’s Financial Service Agency promised to look “into the facts surrounding Coincheck”.

BitGrail exchange was one of the most popular and large platforms for “Nano” (that is a cryptocurrency name) trading. Quoting the statement on the exchange web, “internal checks revealed unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall, an amount forming a part of the wallet managed by Bitgrail S.r.l.”. Other cryptocurrencies weren’t affected, but the reputational still suffered a significant damage. According to the latest news, BitGrail started commencing operations on 2 May of 2018. Markets and withdrawals operate for all coins, except for stolen NANO/XRB back in February .

Bitfinex scam has its place in line of large exchanges being hacked. This crime leaded to a 20% bitcoin price fall, as reported by Arstechnica.

“While we are halting all operations at this time, we can confirm that the breach was limited to Bitcoin wallets; the other digital tokens traded on Bitfinex are unaffected”

Cryptomining marketplace hack

The reason for the NiceHash hack was said to be “a security breach involving the website”. Marketplace representatives advised its users to change their passwords without involving HashCash for security measures, as reported by Coindesk.

The stolen Tethers

Parity wallet hack took place in July 2017 leading to 150 000 ethers (or $30 million) being stolen. As Coindesk reported via link to startup’s blog, the fraud was result of a bug implemented in a specific multi-signature contract known as wallet.sol. Etherscan source suggested the issue had been solved and  377,000 ethers potentially vulnerable to the issue were saved by white hat hackers. Then in November of the past year PW “suicides” happened. According to the company’s statement, an unknown user seized other people’s wallets, becoming their owner, then trying to destroy the smart contract “underlying the multi-sig wallet which in turn blocked funds of of 587 wallets with a total amount of 513,774.16 Ether”.

Tether Token hack cost their business about $30 million cryptocoins, as stated by the company. This information, however, has been removed  from the project’s official page as Tether referred to the attack as “malicious action by an external attacker”.