$500 Million Stolen in 2017

The historic growth in the adoption of blockchain technology over the past year has not come without its challenges. According to CoinDesk, over the course of 2017, almost $500 million worth of crypto assets were stolen or compromised in some way as a result of hacks and scams.

$500 million buys 2,500 Lamborghinis, 100 small private jets, and Will Smith’s private California estate 13 times.

Bottom line: that’s a lot of missing money.

And due to the nature of crypto and the importance of unbreakable anonymity, pretty much all of the stolen cash is completely untraceable and irrecoverable.

Thus as we move into 2018, and the adoption of blockchain continues to rise at an exponential rate, it’s important that we stop to consider some of the lessons learned from our mistakes over the past 12 months.

For those among us who are responsible for the development and creation of secure digital services, there is an immense amount of due diligence, research, and creative problem solving that is needed to ensure that our third party services that exist in parallel to the blockchain are secure. The Parity wallet debacle, which saw more than $100 million worth of Ether stolen, is a perfect example of the failure of our ability to create secure software that serves as a point of interaction to the underlying blockchain. Moving through 2018, we must focus on improving our record with digital security; failing to do would threaten the future of blockchain adoption.

The fault does not lie solely on developers. When Bitcoin Gold came on the market after a hard fork in the Bitcoin blockchain last year, a website posing as a legitimate service stole more than $3 million simply as a result of people not realizing that they were entering their addresses and private keys into a malicious scam. The general public has a responsibility to be educated and vigilant on issues related to basic digital security. For more information about keeping your assets secure, check out this article!

After the explosive growth of blockchain technology in 2017, the upcoming year is bright; but if anything is going to hold us back, it’s the security of applications and software. We all have a responsibility to ensure 2018 is a better year for digital security, so make sure you’re doing your part!

Happy (almost) New Year!