Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis says the value of crypto assets that cybercriminals stole in 2023 went down by more than 50% compared to 2022, largely due to a significant drop in hacking incidents targeting decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms.
In a new report, Chainalysis notes that hackers stole just $1.1 billion from DeFi protocols in 2023, down from $2.5 billion in 2021 and $3.1 billion in 2022.
The number of DeFi hacks also declined by 17.2% year-over-year and the median loss per DeFi hack dropped by 7.4%.
“Hacks of DeFi protocols largely drove the huge increase in stolen crypto that we saw in 2021 and 2022, with cybercriminals stealing more than $3.1 billion in DeFi hacks in 2022. But in 2023, hackers stole just $1.1 billion from DeFi protocols. This amounts to a 63.7% drop in the total value stolen from DeFi platforms year-over-year.”
Citing Mar Gimenez-Aguilar, a lead security architect and researcher at the blockchain security company Halborn, the Chainalysis report says that the drop in value stolen from DeFi platforms suggests operators are making improvements in smart contract security. Hackers also had fewer protocols to target due to the overall drop in DeFi activities last year.
“We can’t say for sure whether the drop in DeFi hacking was driven primarily by better security practices or the drop in DeFi activity overall — most likely, it was a mix of the two.”
Chainalysis says there are potential repercussions if the decline in DeFi activities is in fact the primary reason for the drop in hacking losses.
“It would be important to watch whether DeFi hacking rises again in tandem with another DeFi bull market, as this would lead to higher TVL (total value locked) and therefore a larger pool of DeFi funds for hackers to target.”Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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