Top Crypto Scams and Trends in 2022

Top Crypto Scams and Trends in 2022

Between January and November 2022, hackers made off with $4.3 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, according to a recent report. This represents an increase of about 37% year over year from 2021. But while the total amount increased, 2022 had the lowest single transfers to crypto scams in the last four years.

Trending Crypto Scams

Like last year, most cryptocurrency hacks and scams in 2022 resulted from attacks on DeFi protocols, exchanges, and blockchain bridges. About 72% of cryptocurrency stolen by hackers in 2021 came from DeFi protocols, while 21% of all cryptocurrency hacks this year exploited vulnerabilities in DeFi. This year, approximately 97% of all stolen cryptocurrencies were acquired by DeFi protocols. Meanwhile, wire mesh bridge security breaches will cost an estimated $1.4 billion in losses by 2022.

According to Solidus Labs, there was a 20% increase in cryptocurrency scams in 2022 compared to 2021, with rug pulls becoming increasingly important. In 2021, investors lost $2.8 billion to rug pulls, where project developers suddenly stole investment funds. Meanwhile, in 2022, there were over 188,000 incidents across blockchains like BNB and Ethereum. Solidus Labs also reported that 12% of all BEP-20 tokens were linked to scams, meaning the Binance BNB chain has seen the most scams this year.

One type of cryptocurrency scam on the rise this year is the so-called pig slaughter or romance schemes. In these cases, scammers seduce a victim online and convince them to invest in cryptocurrency regularly, only to lock them out and flee with the money eventually. According to a Social Catfish survey, love scams start with dating apps (35%), Facebook (10%), and various other apps. While victims lost over $139 million worth of cryptocurrencies through these schemes in 2021, Americans lost $185 million through love scams in the first quarter of 2022 alone.

Australians suffered a yearly loss of $166 million, while Americans lost $329 million in cryptocurrency fraud in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, cryptocurrency fraud cost investors in Hong Kong $50 million in 2022. In the meantime, hackers connected to North Korea stole digital money from DeFi protocols valued at about $1 billion.

Largest Incidents This Year

However, as these crypto scams increased this year, the most significant loss came from a much more reliable source. After cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy, an investigation found it was missing between $1 billion and $2 billion in customer funds. This makes it the most prominent cryptocurrency scam committed this year. However, the following two most significant losses were attributed to the more traditional means of cryptocurrency fraud mentioned above. In March, hackers stole around $615 million worth of USDC and Ethereum from Axie Infinity’s Ronin network.

The third largest loss occurred in early February when a hacker exploited the Wormhole protocol for about $325 million in Ethereum.

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