DeFi protocols lose almost $1 billion in crypto to North Korea-linked hacking groups

North Korea stole $4.3 billion in 2021 while theft in crypto this year is way down
Stephen Vicinanza
DeFi Bitcoin.jpg
DeFi Bitcoin


The most alarming increases in crimes in the cryptocurrency sector have been to DeFi protocols, which lost a record 1 billion fiat to North Korea-linked groups. DeFi protocols are decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols consisting of specialized autonomous computer programs that have been designed to address issues related to the finance industry in traditional circles. They would allow for the trading of cryptocurrency between protocols, where an exchange of goods and services could be paid for in cryptocurrency.

These protocols can be vulnerable to attacks as has been seen in 2022, particularly in cross-chain bridges. The data is in for 2022, from and it shows highly skilled hacking groups, such as the Lazarus Group are responsible for some of the thefts, but, North Korea is responsible for the theft of almost 1 billion worth of crypto in 2022 alone.’s analyst Edith Reads, reports in a statement “There has been a series of attacks on DeFi platforms. The attacks are well organized and coordinated. However, there are measures in place by different players in the crypto space to overcome this. More than $30 million in stolen crypto has been recovered from North Korean hackers, which gives hope. It is a win for the crypto enthusiast. It will boost confidence among crypto investors and even attract those with reservations about crypto security.”

The work of criminals has been decreasing in the crypto space

One of the more alarming trends is that despite the general reduction in the overall value of digital assets, crypto criminal activity looks more robust. According to, illegal transactions by 15%, yet lawful transactions fell at more than double that rate, around 35%.

Over $600 million has been stolen by hackers from Ronin bridge of Axie Infinity back in March of 2022. The Horizon bridge of harmony lost more than $100 million just in June 2022, a scant three months ago.

It must be said that hackers are a risk that remains significant, the decrease in criminal activity in the crypto space has decreased enormously. The $1.6 billion in stolen crypto taken by North Korea in crypto-related scams 66% less than the $4.3 Billion stolen in 2021. Also, the Hydra marketplace crackdown in April of this year contributed to the 43% drop in revenue on darknet marketplaces this year.

The various drops in criminal activity in crypto might be due to something known as crypto winter, a time during which values and activity in the crypto markets decline, usually during the winter months.

Crypto winter and other market slumps usually thwart criminal activity, because there is less opportunity for profit from their scams. Make sure you are not investing in returns that are so good they seem unbelievable, they probably are. The crypto game is still new, and values and investments will ride a rollercoaster of ups and downs in market situations. Invest carefully after doing due diligence.

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