The biggest cryptocurrency hacks and heists

4 min readApr 16, 2022
The biggest cryptocurrency hacks and heists

All Bitcoin’s proactive security measures have reduced the impact of a cryptocurrency hack, but they cannot, unfortunately, prevent a theft.

So far hackers stole cryptocurrency worth nearly $615 million (€557 million) from a blockchain project linked to the popular online game Axie Infinity, the latest in a series of high-profile cyberheists to hit the digital asset sector in recent years.

Ronin, a network that allows crypto coins to be transferred between blockchains, announced that hackers stole 173,600 Ether tokens and 25.5 million USD Coin tokens on March 23.

The loot was worth approximately $615 million (€557 million) at the time of the announcement, and approximately $540 million (€449 million) at the time of the hack due to a change in the value of the tokens, making the theft one of the largest on record.

These are some of the other major thefts that have plagued the cryptocurrency sector since the birth of Bitcoin (the largest and original cryptocurrency) in 2008.

Poly Network

In August 2021, hackers stole approximately $610 million (€552 million) from Poly Network, a platform that facilitates peer-to-peer token transactions. The heist’s hackers later returned nearly all of the stolen funds. The hack highlighted flaws in the burgeoning decentralized finance — or DeFi — sector, in which users lend, borrow, and save in digital tokens, bypassing traditional financial gatekeepers such as banks and exchanges.


Hackers stole cryptocurrency worth around $530 million (€480 million) from Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck in January 2018. The thieves targeted one of Coincheck’s “hot wallets” — a digital folder stored online — in order to drain the funds, drawing attention to exchange security.

In Japan, the hack raised concerns about the regulation of the digital asset market. South Korea’s intelligence agency speculated at the time that the heist could have been carried out by a North Korean hacking group.