Crypto Crime May Have Cost Sector $1.2 Billion in Q1, Says Report

Losses arising from cryptocurrency hacks and fraud may have reached as high as $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, CipherTrace estimates.

AccessTimeIconMay 1, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 9:07 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Losses arising from cryptocurrency hacks and fraud may have reached as high as $1.2 billion in the first quarter of the year, new research from blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace suggests.

The total figure includes over $356 million lost from exchanges (including QuadrigaCX’s $195 million) and over $850 million alleged to have been lost from the Bitfinex exchange by the New York Attorney General’s office last week.

It's worth noting, however, that Bitfinex has claimed the funds have been frozen by various authorities at a payments company and that it is working to retrieve them.

CipherTrace said Tuesday in its “Q1 2019 Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report” that the estimated first quarter loss is almost 71 percent of the $1.7 billion loss seen over the whole of 2018.

“These thefts only represent the losses that are visible,” the startup said, adding that the real number of cryptocurrency losses was likely much higher.

Lack of clear regulations in the cryptocurrency sector is the main reason behind the rise in thefts, CipherTrace said, though more clarity is expected in the near future.

According to the report:

“A tsunami of tough new global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terror financing (CTF) regulations will roll over the crypto landscape in the coming year.”

CipherTrace further highlighted what it considers a major gap in the current regulatory environment with respect to cross-border crypto payments.

“An analysis of 164 million BTC transactions revealed that cross-border payments from U.S. exchanges to offshore exchanges increased from 45% from the twelve months ending Q1 2017 to 66% in the twelve months ending Q1 2019,” it said.

Finally, cyber criminals are said to have increasingly adopted new techniques such as kidnapping and insider misappropriations to steal cryptocurrency from individuals and companies in the first quarter.

Hacker image via Shutterstock 


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.