BeInCrypto takes a look at the top cryptocurrency scam trends and biggest events of 2022.
According to a recent report, between January and November 2022, hackers decamped with $4.3 billion worth of cryptocurrencies. This accounts for an increase of about 37% from 2021 year-over-year. But while the total amount increased, crypto scams in 2022 saw the lowest individual transfers in the last four years.
trending crypto scams
Like last year, most cryptocurrency hacks and scams in 2022 resulted from attacks on DeFi protocols, exchange platforms, and blockchain bridges. About 72% of the cryptocurrencies stolen by hackers in 2021 came from DeFi protocols, while 21% of all crypto hackers that year exploited vulnerabilities in DeFi. This year, around 97% of all stolen cryptocurrencies were acquired from DeFi protocols. Meanwhile, breaches of cross-chain bridges are predicted to account for an estimated $1.4 billion in losses in 2022.
According to Solidus Labs, 2022 saw a 20% increase in crypto scams compared to 2021, with ragpulls rising in prominence. In 2021, investors lost $2.8 billion due to Ragpulse, in which investment funds were suddenly stolen by project creators. Meanwhile, over 188,000 events took place in 2022 on various blockchains such as BNB and Ethereum. Solidus Labs also reported that 12% of all BEP-20 tokens were linked to scams, meaning Binance’s BNB chain experienced the most scams this year.
One type of cryptocurrency scam on the rise this year were so-called pig butchers, or romp schemes. In these instances, fraudsters will lure the victim online and convince them to invest in crypto over a period of time, only to eventually block them and abscond with the funds.
According to a survey by Social Catfish, romance scams start on dating apps (35%), Facebook (10%) and various other apps. While victims lost more than $139 million worth of crypto to these schemes in 2021, Americans lost $185 million worth of crypto to romance scams in Q1 2022 alone.
While Americans lost $329 million to cryptocurrency scams in Q1 2022, Australians lost $166 million throughout the year. Additionally, investors in Hong Kong lost $50 million in a cryptocurrency scam in 2022. Meanwhile, hackers linked to North Korea have stolen around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies from DeFi protocols.
Biggest events of the year
Yet with these forms of crypto scams on the rise this year, the biggest losses came from a far more reliable source. After cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy, an investigation revealed that $1-$2 billion of customer funds were missing. This makes it the biggest cryptocurrency scam of the year.
However, the next two biggest losses were attributed to the more traditional means of crypto scamming mentioned above. In March, hackers stole approximately $615 million in USDC and Ethereum from Axi Infinity’s Ronin Network. The third largest loss occurred in early February when a hacker exploited the wormhole protocol for approximately $325 million in Ethereum.
BeInCrypto has reached out to the company or the person involved in the story for an official statement regarding the recent development, but has yet to hear back.