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Published: Feb 02, 2023 3 min read

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Collage of Bitcoin, thief and electronics
Eddie Lee / Money; Getty Images

The cryptocurrency market may have floundered in 2022, but scammers had a banner year — with investors losing a record-high $3.8 billion due to crypto hacking.

What the data shows

A staggering $3.8 billion was stolen from cryptocurrency businesses in 2022, according to a new report from the crypto analytics company Chainalysis. That’s the most ever in a single year. In 2021, $3.3 billion was stolen from crypto hacking.

Interestingly, the number of crypto attacks actually fell from roughly 250 in 2021 to roughly 200 in 2022, the report shows.

Chainalysis attributes much of the crypto theft in 2022 to North Korean hackers, estimating that criminals linked to the country stole an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency last year. “In 2022, they shattered their own records for theft,” the report reads.

In the news

Crypto hacks dominated the headlines last year:

  • Last summer, the blockchain associated with the popular game Axie Infinity lost assets worth $625 million to hackers.
  • In October, a hacker stole $570 million from the popular Binance exchange.
  • Hackers allegedly stole $477 million worth of crypto from FTX, the embattled crypto exchange that’s since filed for bankruptcy, last fall.

Advice from Money

Trading Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is risky. Prices are volatile, the regulatory landscape is uncertain, and there are few protections available for investors.

  • If you do choose to invest in digital assets like bitcoin, experts often advise limiting that investment to an amount you’re prepared to lose.
  • It’s also important to do your homework and take cybersecurity seriously: Make sure you understand how to store your crypto safely (a hardware crypto wallet is often the best choice), and remember that crypto deposits at exchanges are not insured by the federal government.

More from Money:

3 Popular Crypto Scams (and How to Avoid Them)

8 Best Crypto Wallets of February 2023

‘Huge Shock to the System’: What the FTX-Binance Drama Means for Crypto Investors