DeFi security losses rose 47.4% in 2022 to hit $3.64B: Report

According to a Jan. 5 report published by Chinese blockchain security firm LianAn Technology, decentralized finance (DeFi) exploits across blockchains worldwide totaled $3.64 billion in 2022. This represented a rise of 47.4% compared with the loss of $2.44 billion in 2021. The incidents increased in quantity despite a steep 80% loss in the total value locked in DeFi during the year. 

DeFi losses by quarter in 2022. Source: LianAn Technology; Footprint Analytics

Out of the 2022 amount, funds lost during cross-chain bridge hacks amounted to $1.89 billion across 12 incidents — the highest in the category. Overall, attacks on Ethereum, BNB Chain and Solana accounted for the majority of exploits.

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Out of the 167 notable incidents in 2022, 51.5% of breaches occurred in audited projects, while 48.5% of breaches occurred in non-audited projects. In total, LianAn said 38.7%, or $1.40 billion, of stolen funds were laundered via cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash. Only $289 million worth of funds were recovered throughout the year. However, the number is likely higher, as several recoveries have yet to be publicly disclosed per law enforcement requests. 

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Total global blockchain-related crimes (financial crimes excluded) amounted to $13.7 billion in 2022. Incidents of money laundering topped the list with $7.33 billion, followed by DeFi exploits ($3.6 billion), multilevel marketing scams ($1.0 billion) and fraud ($830 million). Aside from the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, there were 243 incidents of fraud and rug pulls during the period, with $425 million involved in total. 

“2022 was a grim year for the security of the global blockchain industry. This leads to a greater and more pressing demand for security expectations in 2023. How to respond against hacker attacks, how to quickly build a global regulatory framework, and how to apply technical breakthroughs to resolve security threats are all pressing issues we must consider and resolve in 2023.”