Hackers Stole $2 Billion from Cross-Chain Protocols in 2022
In 2022, hackers attacked various cross-chain bridges 13 times and stole about $2 billion.
Analyst firm Chainalysis released a report on attacks on various cross-chain protocols. According to it, this market segment accounted for 69% of the total funds stolen in 2022.
As Chainalysis data shows, Q1 2022 was the most fruitful for hackers. Attackers managed to steal about $1.1 billion from various cross-chain bridges, which were attacked 77% more often than other segments of the crypto market. The largest attack in Q1 2022 was the Ronin sidechain hack in March, which saw $624 million in ETH and USDC stolen.
It is worth noting that hackers conducted no successful cross-chain bridge attacks in Q4 2021, but stole over $1 billion from other protocols. Hacker activity also declined in Q2 this year amid a general downturn in the cryptocurrency market. The only major attack during this period was the Horizon Bridge cross-chain protocol hack in June, when about $100 million in assets were stolen.
In 2022, various crypto projects lost about $2.9 billion in hacks, about $2 billion of which were stolen from cross-chain protocols. Notably, the Atlas VPN team earlier said that hackers stole about $1.98 billion over six months. Thus, hackers have already stolen about $1 billion in Q3 of this year. The most high-profile event of this period was the recent attack on the cross-chain protocol Nomad, with an estimated $190.7 million in damages.
Cross-chain bridges are designed to transfer crypto-assets from one blockchain network to another. The structure of different cross-chain protocols varies, but their functionality comes down to the fact that users deposit funds from one blockchain and receive an equivalent amount in tokens from another network. These are so-called wrapped tokens.
Chainalysis analysts believe that cross-chain protocols are the most vulnerable sector because they “feature a central storage point” of funds. According to some experts, the cross-chain bridges are still at the developmental stage, and their efficiency will only improve in a few years.