It’s not just lucky investors getting rich from crypto.
Hackers have made off with billions of dollars in virtual assets in the past year by compromising some of the cryptocurrency exchanges that have emerged during the bitcoin boom.
There have been more than 20 hacks this year where a digital robber stole at least $10 million in digital currencies from a crypto exchange or project. In at least six cases, hackers stole more than $100 million, according to data compiled by NBC News. By comparison, bank robberies netted perpetrators an average of less than $5,000 per heist last year, according to the FBI’s annual crime statistics.
Despite the large dollar amounts associated with these thefts, they often lack the drama or attention of traditional bank robberies. But cryptocurrency experts say they offer a warning to would-be crypto investors: Exchanges are now lucrative targets for hackers.
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“If you hack a Fortune 500 company today, you might steal some usernames and passwords,” said Esteban Castaño, the CEO and co-founder of TRM Labs, a company that builds tools for companies to track digital assets. “If you hack a cryptocurrency exchange, you may have millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.”