Australia overtakes El Salvador to become 4th largest crypto ATM hub

Australia overtakes El Salvador to become 4th largest crypto ATM hub

El Salvador’s position as the fourth-largest crypto ATM hub was short-lived as Australia stepped up its game over the following months.

El Salvador, the first country to legalize Bitcoin (BTC), has been pushed down yet another spot in total crypto ATM installations as Australia records 216 ATMs stepping into the year 2023.

As part of El Salvador’s drive to establish Bitcoin as a legal tender, President Nayib Bukele had decided to install over 200 crypto ATMs across the country. While this move made El Salvador the third largest crypto ATM hub at the time after the United States and Canada in September 2021, Spain and Australia overtook the Central American country’s ATM count in 2022.

On October 2022, Cointelegraph reported that Spain became the third-largest crypto ATM hub after installing 215 crypto ATMs. However, Spain continued its installation drive and is home to 226 crypto ATMs at the time of writing. El Salvador’s position as the fourth-largest crypto ATM hub was short-lived as Australia stepped up its game over the following months.

In the last three months of 2022, Australia deployed 99 crypto ATMs, confirms data from CoinATMRadar. As of Jan. 1, 2023, Australia recorded 219 active crypto ATMs, overshadowing El Salvador by 7 ATMs at the time of writing.

Australia represents 0.6% of global crypto ATM installations and, at this rate, is well-positioned to take over Asia’s crypto ATM numbers, which stand at 312 ATMs. The total number of crypto ATMs worldwide is 38,602, out of which 6,071 ATMs were installed in 2022 alone.

Related: Florida best-prepared US state for widespread crypto adoption: Research

Nigeria’s drive to impose the adoption of an in-house central bank digital currency (CBDC) — eNaira — forced the government to limit ATM cash withdrawals to $225 (100,000 nairas) a week.

“Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions,” noted Haruna Mustafa, the director of banking supervision, while announcing the drive.


Top crypto funding stories of 2022

2022 was a record-breaking year for blockchain and crypto VCs. Depending on who you ask, that's either a good thing or a bad thing.

2022 was a watershed year for crypto venture capital, as investors poured tens of billions of dollars into blockchain-focused startups despite the overwhelmingly bearish trend in asset prices. Is the VC-dominated crypto funding model good for the industry? Only time will tell. 

Cointelegraph Research is still in the process of tallying all the funding figures for the year, but 2022 easily outpaced all other years in terms of total capital raised and deals completed. VC inflows were above $14 billion in each of the first two quarters before receding to just under $5 billion in the third quarter — still an impressive tally given the industry-wide contagion sparked by the sudden collapses of Celsius, Three Arrows Capital, Genesis, BlockFi and FTX, among others.

Against this backdrop, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest funding stories of 2022.

Haun Ventures: Raises $1.5B

In March, crypto investor and Coinbase board member Katie Haun raised $1.5 billion for two Web3-focused investment funds. The newly launched Haun Ventures established a $500 million early-stage fund and a $1 billion acceleration fund to invest in “every layer of the Web3 tech stack.” In launching her new fund, Katie Haun recruited former executives from Airbnb, Coinbase and Google tech incubator Jigsaw.

Web3 has been a major focal point for venture capital over the past 12 months. Although Web3 companies are said to be working on the next version of the decentralized internet, the concept remains vague and the industry behind it is still in its infancy.

Related: Investors chase Web3 as blockchain industry builds despite bear market

Huobi Global: Launches $1B fund

In June, crypto exchange Huobi Global spun out a $1 billion investment fund focused on decentralized finance (DeFi) and Web3 projects. Dubbed Ivy Blocks, the new fund was designed to identify and invest in “promising blockchain projects” across a range of crypto sub-sectors. Specifically, Huobi Global will focus on providing “liquidity investments” to help DeFi projects get up and running.

The DeFi sector deflated with the rest of the cryptocurrency market in 2022, but unlike centralized exchanges, the sector was largely resilient to contagion.

From over $180 billion to $39 billion, DeFi total value locked has crated during the bear market. Source: DeFi Llama.

NBA Top Shot creator: $725M fund

Dapper Labs, the company behind CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot, launched a $725 million fund to support the development of its Flow blockchain. The fund received backing from a range of investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Spartan Group and CoinFund. In addition to supporting the development community already building on Flow, the fund is being used to lure developers from other blockchains such as Ethereum.

Although Dapper Labs has produced some of the biggest nonfungible token (NFT) collections in recent years, sales have lagged other layer-1 ecosystems due to weaker network effects and a smaller collection of decentralized applications.

Dragonfly Capital: Launches $650M fund

Crypto VC Dragonfly Capital closed its third funding round in April, raising $650 million to surpass its two previous rounds of $100 million and $200 million. The funding initiative, which was supported by Tiger Global, Sequoia China, KKR and Invesco, was higher than the $500 million the company initially declared as part of its Form D filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Dragonfly said the funds would be used to invest in DeFi, metaverse and blockchain gaming startups.

Click “Collect” below the illustration at the top of the page or follow this link.

Fireblocks: Raises $550M

Digital asset custody platform Fireblocks saw its valuation surge in January after closing a $550 million Series E funding round. The latest round brought Fireblocks’ cumulative funding to $799 million since 2019, as VCs continued to back institutional infrastructure solutions. Some of Fireblocks’ most prominent clients include Bank of New York Melon, Galaxy Digital and CoinShares. It also served the now defunct BlockFi and Three Arrows Capital.

Binance Labs: Earmarks $500M for Web3 development

Blockchain incubation and late-stage growth featured prominently in Binance Labs’ $500 million fund, which launched in June. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said the funds would support project founders leading Web3 adoption across the DeFi, NFT, gaming, metaverse and social sub-sectors. At the time of its launch, Binance Labs’ fund was already supporting 14 projects across the DeFi and social finance sub-sectors.

Yuga Labs: $450M

Although the NFT market peaked in 2021, VCs are banking on the continued growth of digital collectibles. In March, Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs closed a $450 million funding round at a valuation of $4 billion. Its backers included Andreessen Horowitz, Animoca Brands, MoonPay and, you guessed it, FTX.

Few sub-sectors mooned as hard or as fast as NFTs during the previous bull market. While this success earned Yuga Labs a sizable investment round in March, NFT-focused companies will struggle to maintain their valuations moving forward. As ConsenSys reported, NFT prices have fallen harder than many other crypto assets, possibly indicating that new use cases need to emerge to keep the industry from fading into oblivion.

Related: Fidelity plans NFT marketplace and financial services in the metaverse

Polygon: $450M investment round

Sequoia Capital India and over 40 other venture funds invested $450 million into layer-2 scaling solution Polygon. The company said it would use the funds to expand its scaling solutions to accommodate eventual mainstream adoption of Web3 applications. According to Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal, Ethereum won’t provide enough scalability to support a Web3 future, even after its highly anticipated Merge took place.

Polygon’s funding round closed in February, a few months before the Terra ecosystem implosion triggered the first sector-wide contagion in crypto. Layer-2 protocols still have a bright future as the crypto sector moves past its scandal-ridden 2022 and attention shifts back to development.

Multicoin Capital: $430M for new startup fund

With crypto contagion in full swing, Multicoin Capital in July announced it had launched a $430 million fund to support early-stage companies. The company said it would allocate between $500,000 and $25 million to crypto startups and is prepared to invest up to $100 million in larger projects. Multicoin indicated that its latest funding iniaitive would prioritize projects with “proof of physical work,” or protocols that have created real incentives for decentralization.

Framework Ventures: $400M raised

In April, crypto VC Framework Ventures launched “FVIII,” a $400 million fund devoted to Web3, blockchain gaming and DeFi. Half of the funding will go toward blockchain gaming projects, Framework Ventures said.

The focus on gaming may have been catalyzed by the success of Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn game with millions of unique users. The growth of metaverse and NFT technology could also be positive drivers for the blockchain gaming industry.

Related: Pantera plans to raise $1.25B for second blockchain fund: Report

Ava Labs: $350M in new funding

Ava Labs, the developer of the Avalanche blockchain, raised $350 million in April at a valuation of $5.25 billion. At the time of the raise, Avalanche was one of the most popular blockchains in terms of TVL, or total value locked. Of course, that’s no longer the case after crypto and DeFi entered a deep bear market.

Avalanche’s TVL currently sits below $800 million after peaking north of $12.2 billion in December 2021, according to DeFi Llama.

Near Protocol: $350M funding round

In April, Tiger Global and FTX Ventures led Near Protocol’s $350 million funding round. At the time, it was one of the largest capital raisesfor any decentralized application platform. Proceeds were earmarked for supporting Near ecosystem growth, including increasing the number of regional hubs across the globe. Near ended 2022 as the 35th largest crypto project by market capitalization.

Binance.US: $200M seed round

American crypto exchange Binance.US attracted notable investors, including VanEck and Circle Ventures, in raising $200 million at a pre-market valuation of $4.5 billion. Binance.US said the funding would go toward expanding its product features and operations across the United States. The company appears to have made some progress, having recently rolled out mobile payments to U.S.-based customers. The exchange also plans to acquire the assets of bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital for just over $1 billion.

SBF to enter plea deal, Mango’s exploiter arrested, and Celsius news: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 25-31

SBF to enter plea deal, Mango’s exploiter arrested, and Celsius news: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 25-31

Top Stories This Week

Bankman-Fried may enter plea in NY federal court next week before Judge Lewis Kaplan

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear in court on the afternoon of Jan. 3 to enter a plea on two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy against him in relation to the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. After being released on a $250 million bail bond, Bankman-Fried reportedly met with Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, a bestseller that was turned into a movie, spurring speculation that a film about the disgraced exchange’s saga is on the way.

SBF borrowed $546M from Alameda to fund Robinhood share purchase

In another headline related to Sam Bankman-Fried, an affidavit by the founder of FTX revealed that he previously borrowed over $546 million from Alameda Research to fund a purchase of Robinhood shares. Later, those same shares were used by Bankman-Fried as collateral for a $600 million loan taken by Alameda from digital asset lender BlockFi. The shares are currently frozen and are worth around $450 million. BlockFi filed a lawsuit seeking to receive the collateral shares in November.

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Argo Blockchain sells top mining facility to Galaxy Digital for $65M

In a bid to survive the ongoing bear market, cryptocurrency mining firm Argo Blockchain sold its Texas flagship mining facility, Helios, for $65 million. The new owner is Mike Novogratzs crypto investment firm Galaxy Digital, which will also provide Argo with a new $35 million equipment finance loan to help the company reduce its debt. The deal will allow Argo’s mining operations to continue while reducing total debt, improving liquidity and improving operating structure..

Mango Markets exploiter arrested on fraud charges Maybe it was illegal

Avraham Eisenberg, the hacker who stole $110 million from decentralized exchange Mango Markets, was arrested in Puerto Rico. Eisenberg called the exploit a highly profitable trading strategy and noted that he considered all his actions to be legal open market actions. It appears, however, that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a different interpretation of the facts. According to the FBI complaint, Eisenberg’s actions constitute both fraud and market manipulation.

Celsius wants to extend the deadline for claims as lawyer fees mount

Celsius Network is planning to file a motion to extend the deadline for users to submit claims by another month, extending the time limit to early February. Creditors of Celsius, however, do not seem to support the move, as fees for bankers, lawyers, and advisers have already reached $53 million in the bankruptcy case.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $16,554, Ether (ETH) at $1,196 and XRP at $0.34. The total market cap is at $794.23 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are BitDAO (BIT) at 17.58%, OKB (OKB) at 12.68% and Internet Computer (ICP) at 11.46%.

The top three altcoin losers of the week are Chain (XCN) at -32.93%, Solana (SOL) AT -16.57%, and Axie Infinity (AXS) at -15.45%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraphs market analysis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

I want Bitcoin to go down a lot further so I can buy some more.

Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur

We expect that 2023 could be the year of decentralization and accelerated development of decentralized apps.

Nikita Zuborev, chief analyst at BestChange

British financial institutions and banks […] continue to want to participate in the digitalization of commerce, which starts with digital assets, monies and commodities.

Mitch Mechigian, partner at Blockchain Coinvestors

Customer class members should not have to stand in line along with secured or general unsecured creditors in these bankruptcy proceedings just to share in the diminished estate assets of the FTX Group and Alameda.

Creditors of FTX Group and Alameda Research

Fraudsters love volatility and current events. Anytime they can try to surf the contours of something very disruptive in the marketplace, they have a great deal of success.

Clayton LiaBraaten, senior executive adviser at Truecaller

Listening to these companies talk about Web3 initiatives, its clear they see digital engagement with customers and fans as a new aspect of the retail experience.

Steven Goulden, senior research analyst at Cumberland

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin not undervalued yet, says research as BTC price drifts nearer to $16K

Bitcoins price has been hovering around $17,000 for the majority of December, according to Cointelegraphs BTC price index.  

Based on the analysis of MAC_D, a pseudonymous contributor to the on-chain platform CryptoQuant, Bitcoin is not undervalued yet, as an indicator tracking transactions in profit and loss has yet to repeat its traditional bear market bottom sequence. 

Therefore, the BTC is likely to fall further, and spot hedging and down trend trading are required, noted MAC_D.

FUD of the Week 

Midas Investments closes down amid $63M DeFi portfolio deficit

While the FTX contagion continues, custodial investment platform Midas Investments has announced that it will cease operations due to a $63.3 million deficit in its decentralized finance portfolio. Midas has experienced some difficulties following the collapses of Terra, Celsius and FTX, which led to users withdrawing 60% of their funds over the course of six months.

Kraken quits Japan for the second time, blaming a weak crypto market

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has shut down its operations in Japan for the second time, blaming a weak crypto market. A blog post by the exchange announced the decision on Dec. 28. After closing in 2018, Kraken reopened its Tokyo headquarters during the bull market of 2020, offering spot trading on five major assets with plans to expand. Kraken’s clients in Japan will have until Jan. 31 to withdraw their funds from the exchange.

3Commas API leak victims demand refunds and apology for ‘gaslighting’

After months denying any hack or breach on its platform, 3Commas and its CEO Yuriy Sorokin finally admitted to a sizable API leak, recognizing that a database shared by a hacker was legitimate. Now, victims of the leak are demanding refunds and an apology from the crypto trading platform for being gaslighted. 3Commas has engaged in a back-and-forth with victims in recent months, denying leaks and claiming customers were phished.

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Making the case that Bitcoin is not freedom: Pacific Bitcoin Panel

Is Bitcoin really bringing freedom to the world? Experts discussed the complexities of using Bitcoin as a tool for emancipation at a panel at Pacific Bitcoin.

2023 will see the death of play-to-earn gaming

2023 will see the death of play-to-earn gaming

Developers have been focusing more on tokens than on making fun games. As a result, GameFi has been dying.

Play-to-earn gaming enabled by blockchain technology has grown exponentially over the few years. 

Gamers have embraced the opportunity to collect cryptocurrencies or ​nonfungible tokens (​NFTs​)​ that have been produced in blockchain-based games.

Through the advent of this new technology, players have been able to generate income by selling in-game NFTs or earning cryptocurrency rewards, both of which can be exchanged for fiat cash.

Because of this​, according to data from​ Absolute Reports​, the estimated value of the GameFi industry will grow to $2.8 billion by 2028, with a compound annual growth rate of 20.4% ​over the same period. But such predictions may well prove to be unfounded.

Given the rate of exponential growth over recent years, one might think that there was absolutely no reason to believe the trend would not continue well into 2023 and beyond. Right? Wrong.

As we have seen with the ignominious case of former crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried and the implosion of FTX, a castle built on a flimsy foundation of sand can be easily washed away when the tide comes in and goes back out again.

Related: GameFi developers could be facing big fines and hard time

Or, as legendary investor Warren Buffett liked to put it: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

We may be about to learn who these people are. The fact of the matter is the play-to-earn gaming industry is not built on firm foundations. The foundations are fragile and flimsy, and this could well spell trouble in 2023. The whole edifice looks set to come crashing down.

The structure of the current GameFi market is token-centric and this can create a number of issues. Project owners issue their tokens which are listed on exchanges first before they announce that they are going to build games. Games are a utility of tokens they issue. So tokens come first, and contents later. This is why the quality and design of games in the blockchain space are so underrated.

Unique active wallets (UAWs) that used decentralized applications (DApps) in 2022. Source: DappRadar

An environment has been created in which the players are not all that interested in games themselves, which is a strange state of affairs for a gaming industry to find itself in. More and more of the players are, in reality, investors who want returns on investment.

The current structure creates the wrong kind of incentives and this is one of the reasons why the system is not working as it should. I would argue that DeFi Kingdom​s​, which is one of the better-known play-to-earn blockchain games out there, has been screwing with its tokenomics relentlessly by creating perverse incentives.

By now, generally speaking, the token market is in a downtrend and the speculative trading market is dead. An industry can survive for a certain amount of time on promise, expectation and unjustified hype. But, it can only do so for so long. Eventually, people begin to notice that they haven’t received what they have been promised. Patience starts to wear thin. They get angry, they get frustrated and they begin to withdraw. This begins as a trickle of the savviest players, but that can soon become a flood.

Related: Anonymous crypto developers belong in prison — and will be there soon

Those who have planned to secure funds by listing their tokens will have to reassess. Many will be forced to close their projects due to insufficient funds. The situation is becoming so acute that even hitherto bullish crypto venture capitalists (VCs) are also pausing new investments.

So, who is going to survive this investment drought? It looks unlikely that GameFi will. However, other blockchain gamings might do so.

One example is the Ethereum-powered, NFT-based fantasy football league operator Sorare has become a Web3 unicorn. While many of its competitors struggle, Sorare keeps on increasing its users and revenue during the darkest period. Their daily auction volume is impressive, at around 300-400​ Ether (​ETH​)​, and the number of users keeps increasing.

​Though ​its back end ​relies on blockchain, ​users ​do not perceive it as a ​GameFi​ project​. They do not provide their native tokens, but they do provide their content first on ​Ethereum, which very much looks like the way to go for the industry at large.

So GameFi may well die in 2023, but that does not mean that all is lost. Death is a necessary part of evolution. ​​From ​it, new life may already be beginning to emerge.

Shinnosuke “Shin” Murata is the founder of blockchain games developer Murasaki. He joined Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co. in 2014, doing automotive finance and trading in Malaysia, Venezuela and Bolivia. He left Mitsui to join a second-year startup called Jiraffe as the company’s first sales representative and later joined STVV, a Belgian football club, as its chief operating officer and assisted the club with creating a community token. He founded Murasaki in the Netherlands in 2019.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

US lawmakers under pressure following FTX collapse: Report

US lawmakers under pressure following FTX collapse: Report

In response to FTX's fall, United States lawmakers are reevaluating the crypto industry's regulatory needs for 2023.

Legislators in the United States seem to be reevaluating the crypto industry and its regulatory needs in light of FTX's collapse. According to the Wall Street Journal, since the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy in November, lawmakers have been under pressure to set a new regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. 

Several proposals are in the works that would apply existing banking, securities, and tax rules to cryptocurrencies, and lawmakers are calling on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to adopt an aggressive approach to the crypto market.

In a December House hearing, Rep. Jake Auchincloss, who is also a member of the bipartisan Congressional Blockchain Caucus, reportedly noted that "it’s time for the blockchain investors and entrepreneurs to build things that matter or to lose more credibility,” adding that in 14 years crypto has only delivered "white papers and podcasts".

Senator Roger Marshall, an advocate for blockchain technology's potential to stop fraud, is also pushing for tighter regulation in the United States. "Someone needs to convince me that it's not all just a Ponzi game," he claimed.

Related: Companies and investors may need to return billions in funds paid by FTX

Among the few legislators willing to stand up for the crypto industry, Rep. Patrick McHenry stated that it is necessary "to separate out the bad actions of an individual from the good created by an industry and an innovation.” The House Financial Services Committee will be led by McHenry in the new Congress.

FTX former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's lobby in Washington was focused on a bill that would give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) authority to regulate cryptocurrencies. The bill was expected to be included in the budget spending package for 2023, but now it's unlikely to advance due to the past weeks' developments.

As reported by Cointelegraph, Bankman-Fried was a significant donor to Republicans and Democrats in Washington. Earlier this year, he considered spending up to one billion dollars to help influence 2024 presidential election campaigns.

Open Secrets, a platform that tracks money in politics, lists SBF as the sixth-largest political contributor for the 2021-2022 cycle, with a total contribution of $39.8 million for candidates and political parties.

Sam Bankman-Fried denies moving funds from Alameda wallets

Sam Bankman-Fried denies moving funds from Alameda wallets

The former FTX CEO denied moving the funds saying; "I'm not and couldn't be moving any of those funds; I don't have access to them anymore.”

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the now-defunct FTX exchange, has denied moving funds tied to Alameda wallets, days after he was released on a $250 million bond.

On Dec. 30, Fried tweeted to his 1.1 million followers, denying any involvement in the movement of funds from Alameda wallets.  In response to the allegations that he may have been responsible for moving funds out of Alameda wallets, he shared: “None of these are me. I'm not and couldn't be moving any of those funds; I don't have access to them anymore.”

SBF’s tweet was in response to a news story published by Cointelegraph, which reported that a wallet address that started with 0x64e9 had received over 600 ETH from wallets that belonged to Alameda. According to on-chain transactional records, part of the funds were swapped to USDT while the other part of the transaction was sent to a mixing service.

The movement of funds and the manner in which it was moved raised suspicions within the crypto community that it may have been an inside job. Some suspected that SBF may have been behind it. The Alameda wallet was found to be swapping bits of ERC-20s for Ether and USDT, which were then funneled through instant exchanges and mixers.

Related: FTX founder reportedly cashes out $684K after being released on bail

According to an on-chain investigation conducted by DeFi educator BowTiedIguana, SBF has reportedly cashed out $684,000 in crypto via. an exchange in Seychelles, while being under house arrest. 

On Dec. 29, BowTiedIguana reported on a series of wallet transactions that were allegedly linked to SBF. The transaction records seemed to suggest that the former FTX CEO may have violated release conditions to not spend more than $1,000 without permission from the court.

Bithumb’s largest shareholder executive found dead following allegations of embezzlement

Bithumb’s largest shareholder executive found dead following allegations of embezzlement

Mr. Park Mo was found dead after an investigation had been launched against him for embezzlement and stock price manipulation.

Mr. Park Mo, the vice president of Vidente, the largest shareholder of South Korean Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb,was reportedly found dead in front of his home at 4 am, on the morning of Dec. 30. 

Prior to his death, Mr. Mo had been named as a primary suspect in an investigation launched by South Korean prosecutors for his alleged involvement in the embezzling funds at Bithumb-related companies, as well as, manipulating stock prices.

In October 2021, the Financial Investigation Division of the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into allegations made against Mr. Park Mo, which led to the seizing of Bithumb-affiliated companies such as Vident, Inbiogen, and Bucket Studio. 

Vident, a KOSDAQ-listed company, is known to be Bithumb's largest shareholder and holds a 34.22% stake in the cryptocurrency exchange. 

It is suspected that Mr. Mo may have taken his own life due to the nature of the criminal allegations that had been brought against him.

Related: Amber Group’s co-founder Tiantian Kullander passes away at 30

Within the past three months, the number of deaths within the cryptocurrency community has been notable. 

On Nov 1, Cointelegraph reported that Nikolai Mushegian, the co-founder of the cryptocurrency lending platform MakerDAO and the decentralized Dai (DAI) stablecoin, was found dead in Puerto Rico at the age of 29. 

On Nov. 23, Amber Group’s co-founder Tiantian Kullander, also known as “TT,” unexpectedly passed away in his sleep at the age of 30, leaving behind a wife and son.

The Russian billionaire Vyacheslav Taran, president of Libertex Group and founder of Forex Club, also died on Nov. 25 in a helicopter crash in France while en route from Lausanne, Switzerland to Monaco. He was 53 years old.

DeFi sees exploits and exit scam drama in the last week of 2022: Finance Redefined

DeFi sees exploits and exit scam drama in the last week of 2022: Finance Redefined

The last week of 2022 didn't turn out to be a good one as the industry recorded multiple exploits and an exit scam scare.

Welcome to Finance Redefined, your weekly dose of essential decentralized finance (DeFi) insights — a newsletter crafted to bring you significant developments over the last week.

For DeFi, the last week of 2022 saw another slew of exploits, insider job accusations and exit scam drama. It all started on Christmas, when Defrost Finance, a decentralized leveraged trading platform on the Avalanche blockchain, was exploited by a DeFi flash loan attack causing $12 million in losses.

However, the hacker behind the attacks reportedly returned a portion of the funds the next day. Security analytic firm Certik looked into the chain of events and concluded that the $12 million of funds drained were a part of an exit scam.

On Dec. 26, when the Defrost exploit saga was unfolding, Bitkeep, a multichain wallet, was exploited for $8 million by hackers. Later in an analysis report, it emerged that exploiters lured users through phishing websites.

The top 100 DeFi tokens had another bearish week with little to no price momentum. Nearly all tokens were trading in red on the weekly charts.

DeFi flash loan hacker liquidates Defrost Finance users causing $12M loss

This week, Defrost Finance announced that both its versions — Defrost v1 and Defrost v2 — are being investigated for a hack. The announcement came after investors reported losing their staked Defrost Finance (MELT) and Avalanche (AVAX) tokens from MetaMask wallets.

After a few users complained about the unusual loss of funds, Defrost Finance’s core team member Doran confirmed that Defrost v2 was hit with a flash loan attack. At the time, the platform believed Defrost v1 was not impacted by the hack and decided to close down v2 for further investigation.

Continue reading

Defrost Finance breaks silence on ‘exit scam’ accusations, denies rug pull

Defrost Finance, the decentralized trading platform that suffered a $12 million exploit in the days leading up to Christmas, has denied allegations that it had “rugged” its users as part of an elaborate “exit scam.”

On Dec. 23, the platform announced it suffered a flash loan attack, leading to the draining of user funds from its v2 protocol. One day later, another incident saw a hacker steal the admin key for a second “much larger” attack on the v1 protocol.

Continue reading

Hackers drain $8M in assets from Bitkeep wallets in the latest DeFi exploit

While many still enjoy the holiday season, hackers are hard at work, draining around $8 million in an ongoing BitKeep wallet exploit.

On Dec. 26, some users of the multichain crypto wallet BitKeep reported that their funds were being drained and transferred while not using their wallets. In their official Telegram group, the BitKeep team confirmed that some APK package downloads had been hijacked, with code installed by the hackers.

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Midas Investments closes down with $63M DeFi portfolio deficit

Custodial investment platform Midas will close operations because of a $63.3 million deficit in its DeFi portfolio. Midas founder and CEO Iakov Levin, also known as Trevor, wrote that the move is partly because the fund’s DeFi portfolio lost $50 million, which is 20% of its $250 million assets under management.

Additionally, Levin highlighted that the collapses of Terra, FTX and Celsius contributed to Midas’ struggles, with users withdrawing 60% of the funds after those debacles.

Continue reading

DeFi market overview

Analytical data reveals that DeFi’s total market value remained below $40 billion this past week, trading at about $38.2 billion at the time of writing. Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView show that DeFi’s top 100 tokens by market capitalization had a volatile and bearish week, with nearly all of the tokens trading in the red.

Thanks for reading our summary of this week’s most impactful DeFi developments. Join us next Friday for more stories, insights and education in this dynamically advancing space.

10 crypto tweets that aged like milk: 2022 edition

10 crypto tweets that aged like milk: 2022 edition

Sam Bankman-Fried, Do Kwon and Alex Mashinsky might look back on this year and wish they had hired a social media adviser or logged off Twitter.

To put it lightly, it has been a wild year for the crypto sector.

In the span of less than 12 months, the third-most valuable stablecoin imploded, leading to a domino effect that saw crypto lender Celsius go bankrupt, Three Arrows Capital’s founders go runabout and one of crypto’s most “altruistic” executives flown home in cuffs.

In this article, Cointelegraph has selected 10 crypto-related tweets that have aged like spoilt milk.

Do Kwon — “Steady lads”

On May 10, just as the algo-stablecoin formerly known as TerraUSD started to fall below its dollar peg, the Terraform Labs founder attempted to allay fears of a further depeg, tweeting: “Deploying more capital - steady lads.”

Well, we all know what happened after. The collapse of the Terra ecosystem in May 2022 saw more than $40 billion wiped from the market in that month alone.

Since then, Do Kwon and the remaining Terra community have tried to revive the project with a newer stablecoin coming into the works. TerraUSD has since been rebranded to TerraClassicUSD (USTC) and is worth $0.02 at the time of writing.

Do Kwon — “Your size is not size”

Next on the list is Kwon’s famous response to crypto trader Algod, who outlined on March 9 that if LUNA “breaks new ATH’s I will short it with size. It’s a big ass ponzi, pretty sure VC’s will also hedge their investments on perps.”

Kwon then hit back by essentially calling Algod poor, stating, “Yeah but your size is not size” before adding, “$10 short incoming, everyone take cover.”

This of course was memed back to Kwon on many occasions during and after he went into damage control mode as TerraUSD spiraled out of control.

SBF — “Sell me all you want. Then go fuck off.”

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has a near-endless amount of statements that likely look terrible in current circumstances. Not only has he lied about “assets are fine” but shortly before his company filed for bankruptcy, the FTX founder also left us with the $3 Solana (SOL) meme.

In a debate on Twitter from January, crypto trader CoinMamba got under SBF’s skin in January 2021, suggesting that SOL was a great shorting opportunity over the price of $3.

After a back in forth in which the two were trying to iron out a bet on the future price, SBF finally had enough of CoinMamba’s SOL taunting and said:

“I’ll buy as much SOL as you have, right now, at $3. Sell me all you want. Then go fuck off.”

The comment became legendary in the crypto community, particularly after the price of SOL went to an all-time high of $259.96 on Nov. 6, 2021.

However, CoinMamba appears to have had the last laugh, as Bankman-Fried’s firm catastrophically collapsed a year later.

Replying to the nearly two-year-old thread, CoinMamba gave Bankman-Fried a taste of his own medicine. “I’ll buy everything you have, right now, at $3. Sell me all you want. Then go fuck off.”

Alex Mashinsky — “All funds are safe.”

Amid the LUNA fiasco in May, rumors started to float that Celsius was having liquidity issues and could be heading for serious trouble, while others had claimed the firm had already been “completely wiped out.”

In a bid to quickly assure Celsius customers, Mashinsky responded to the rumors by stating in a May 12 tweet: “Notwithstanding the extreme market volatility, Celsius has not experienced any significant losses,” adding:

“All funds are safe.”

These four words went on to become a harbinger of doom for the industry.

A month later, on June 12, the firm paused all withdrawals. On July 13, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Users are still battling to get even a portion of their funds back as we speak.

Celsius — “If you don’t have free and unlimited access to your own funds, are they really *your* funds?”

Accompanying Mashinsky is a classic from Celsius Network, in which the firm was touting the whole “unbank yourself” catchphrase. The crypto lender often suggested it was more trustworthy than the banking system.

In a Nov. 14 tweet from 2019, Celsius Network tweeted, “If you don’t have free and unlimited access to your own funds, are they really *your* funds?” before adding:

“#UnbankYourself with Celsius and join the next generation of financial services — no fees, no penalties, no lockups, just profit.”

That statement hasn’t fared too well in 2022.

Amid its Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, users have had zero access to their locked-up funds, while profits are in doubt, too, considering they might not get all the funds back.

Voyager — “We have the experience to [...] weather any bear market.”

Following a similar line to Celsius and Mashinky, fellow bankrupted crypto lender Voyager published a lengthy Twitter thread in June, which now looks a bit out of place as 2022 comes to a close.

In an attempt to assure customers that the company was safe during the bear market following the collapse of the Terra ecosystem, Voyager assured customers it carefully manages “risk” and its mission is to “make crypto as simple as safe as possible.”

“Our straightforward, low-risk approach to asset management is the result of our decades of experience leading companies through market cycles. We have the experience to back our decisions and weather any bear market.”

Over the next couple of weeks, it was widely reported that the company was facing liquidity issues, and by July 5, Voyager had filed for bankruptcy.

TechCrunch — “The collapse of ETH is inevitable”

Next in line is a tweet dating back to 2018 from fintech news outlet TechCrunch that reads: “The collapse of ETH is inevitable.”

The tweet is accompanied by an extremely bearish article in which the author, Jeremy Rubin, predicts that “ETH — the asset, not the Ethereum Network itself — will go to zero.”

Rubin, who disclosed at the end of the article that he was a Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) hodler at the time, bizarrely suggests that if the Ethereum network completes everything on its roadmap, no one will have any use for the asset.

At the time of writing, however, Ether (ETH) sits at $1,196 and presents a host of reasons for people to want to hold it: staking rewards, borrowing, lending and deflationary tokenomics.

Additionally, it also serves utility purposes, such as pushing through transactions on the largest smart contract network on the market.

Click “Collect” below the illustration at the top of the page or follow this link.

Avraham Eisenberg — “What are you gonna do, arrest me?”

Avraham Eisenberg, the crypto trader behind the $110-million exploit of decentralized exchange Mango Markets, makes the list due to a tweet from October that looks terrible in current circumstances.

The tweet itself revolves around a rather harmless back-and-forth regarding Eisenberg’s incorrect use of the @inversebrah tag, with Sheik Swampert noting, “You don’t call inversebrah on yourself dude.”

In response, Eisenberg said, “What are you gonna do, arrest me?”

As of this week, Eisenberg has actually been arrested and is facing market manipulation charges over the Mango Markets exploit, which he had consistently maintained was “a highly profitable trading strategy” facilitated via “legal open market actions.”

As such, this tweet has fast become a popular meme that will most likely live on for a long time in Crypto Twitter folklore.

Fortune — SBF, the “next Warren Buffet”

American business magazine Fortune has also got itself on this list for speaking in glowing terms of SBF back in August.

In a Twitter thread, the publication labeled him the “de facto leader of the crypto community” before suggesting that he was the “next Warren Buffet, Crypto’s white knight” and “Prince of risk.”

Kevin O’Leary — “I’m going to use FTX to increase my allocation”

Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful, makes the list for his backing of FTX and its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.

O’Leary’s now-deleted tweet came on Aug. 10, 2021, after he signed a deal to become an FTX spokesperson. In the tweet, he emphasized:

“Finally solved my compliance problems with #cryptocurrencies I’m going to use FTX to increase my allocation and use the platform to manage my portfolios.”

Unfortunately for O’Leary, FTX was anything but compliant, and the millionaire said he has likely lost the entire $15 million he was paid to be FTX’s spokesperson after taxes, agent fees and all the crypto he kept on the exchange was lost after the firm’s bankruptcy.


Crypto Stories: How Bitcoin helped a couple start a family

These Bitcoiners from London have "no regrets" about their decision to sell Bitcoin to start a family.

Bitcoin (BTC) gains helped “Noodle,” a London-based Bitcoiner, to afford in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments for his family. Noodle’s story comes to life in the latest edition of Cointelegraph’s Crypto Stories.

IVF treatments can be expensive, with success rates ranging from 4% to 38%, depending on various factors. Fortunately, profits from buying and holding Bitcoin provided the necessary funds for Noodle to start a family.

Noodle, who first heard about Bitcoin in 2012, decided to sell some of his BTC to pay for IVF treatment for his wife. He favored selling BTC over taking out a loan, converting over $70,000 in Bitcoin into fiat currency over a few years to pay for the treatments.

Noodle’s journey with Bitcoin began when he was at the gym. An acquaintance introduced him to the Silk Road, a now-defunct marketplace where users could buy and sell various items using BTC. Noodle was convinced to buy 7 BTC at $57 each and ended up using it to buy cannabis online.

From that point on, Noodle fell down the rabbit holes of finance, education and the world of Bitcoin. He even convinced his wife, whom he had been with since 2008, to invest some of their wedding money into Bitcoin. Little did they know, this investment would eventually fund IVF treatments to help them have children.

Related: Crypto Stories: Dr. Adam Back shares his life of hacks

Despite the initial stigma around IVF, the Noodle family was able to have two children thanks to the profits from their Bitcoin investment. Noodle told Cointelegraph that he has “no regrets” about his decision to sell BTC to start a family and emphasized the importance of being able to make informed financial decisions.

For many people, the decision between holding Bitcoin or using it for practical purposes can be a difficult one. However, for Noodle, the choice to sell was a clear one, and he is grateful for the opportunity that his Bitcoin investment provided.

‘Everything bubble’ bursts: Worst year for US stocks and bonds since 1932

‘Everything bubble’ bursts: Worst year for US stocks and bonds since 1932

While the crypto markets have taken a bashing in 2022, it hasn’t exactly been rosy for US stocks, bonds and real estate either.

It’s been a torrid year for investors, and not just those in crypto, with United States (U.S.) bonds experiencing their worst year in centuries and U.S. stocks pulling back nearly 20% since 2022 began.

As of Nov. 30, a Financial Times report noted that a traditional portfolio consisting of 60% stocks and 40% bonds will have seen its worst performance since 1932, when the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression.

Nominal return for US stocks and bonds from 1871-2022. Source: Financial Times.

Meanwhile, tech stocks, which some theorize have a correlation with cryptocurrency prices, haven’t had a great year either.

An index tracking the performance of U.S. companies in the industry recorded a loss of 35.76% for the year.

Household tech giants such as Netflix, Meta, Zoom, Spotify and Tesla have all had particularly difficult years as well with their share prices falling in the range of 51% and 70%, according to Yahoo Finance.

Even the “safe as houses” real estate sector has started to show signs of pain, with the most recent data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showing that U.S. house prices were stagnant through September and October.

Return for an index tracking the stock performance of U.S. companies in the technology industry throughout 2022. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices.

These stock and sector declines may help put the current crypto winter into better perspective, noting that total crypto market cap fell from $2.25 trillion to $798 billion throughout the year, representing a drop of 64.5%, and crypto billionaires recorded huge losses.

Some of the crypto crises that have occurred throughout 2022 include the bankruptcies of FTX, Celsius and Three Arrows Capital, as well as the collapse of the Terra network, among others.

Related: BTC price preserves $16.5K, but funding rates raise risk of new Bitcoin lows

According to a Dec. 30 tweet by investment analyst Andreas Steno, “every single asset class” is down significantly in 2022, and real estate is soon to follow.

Crypto’s recovery requires more aggressive solutions to fraud

Crypto’s recovery requires more aggressive solutions to fraud

After 2022, we need to do more to assure skeptical users that they can invest in cryptocurrency without fearing that their funds will be lost.

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that our industry is facing tough times. We’ve been in the midst of a “crypto winter” for some time now, with the prices of mainstays, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH), tumbling. Likewise, monthly nonfungible token (NFT) trading volumes have fallen more than 90% since their multibillion dollar peak back in January of this year. Of course, these declines have only been exacerbated by the numerous black swan events rocking the crypto world, such as the FTX and Three Arrows Capital meltdowns. Taken together, it shouldn’t be a surprise that crypto is facing a trust deficit. 

While the destructive actions of reckless CEOs must be addressed and the individuals responsible for these events must be held accountable, our industry cannot stop there if we are to rebound. To address the trust deficit that crypto faces, better security for the end user against the threat of scams and hacks must be a priority.

Don’t think so? According to research firm Chainalysis, $3.2 billion worth of digital assets were stolen in 2021. It’s not looking better for our industry this year, with $718 million in overall hacking-related losses having been reported in October alone. When it comes to scams, the picture darkens as report after report shows that known crypto scams, such as rug pulls and wallet drainers, are on the rise. Between July 2021 and August 2022, an eye-popping $100 million in investor funds were lost through unsophisticated NFT scams. And this number is likely an under-count given that most NFT scams are micro-scams impacting individual users that never get reported.

Related: Developers could have prevented crypto's 2022 hacks if they took basic security measures

Phishing links trick end users into emptying their wallets. Front-running schemes with videos promising “HUGE RETURNS” to convince people to download bogus software that gives con artists access to their assets. Even direct attacks that disrupt bridges like Ronin and Nomad. Look around and you’ll see that scams and hacks aren’t just costing the crypto industry billions in digital assets — they’re eroding trust in crypto in a more meaningful way than even the black swan events of 2022.

Sure, we can shun and cast out the Sam Bankman-Frieds and Do Kwons and all the other bad-actor CEOs. But if we want to convince the general public and customers that crypto is safe to interact with and invest in, we must tackle the problem of scams and hacks head-on.

How exactly can we make Web3 safe for all? The basic principles of cryptocurrency lie in decentralization, transparency and immutability. Crypto should be for everyone, and for that to be the case, we as an industry must lower users’ required effort and associated level of risk with regard to getting started with crypto, whether that’s purchasing or trading NFTs, or buying and selling Bitcoin. As it stands, crypto is too complex and difficult for everyday people to understand. With the absence of better tooling and anti-scam software, it’s simply too easy for scams and hacks to take place and spread.

Related: 5 tips for investing during a global recession

The development of anti-scam tools is certainly one way our industry could turn the tide against scams and hacks. Continually increased investment in security layers, and systems to compensate users in the event of hack or scam-related losses will help. But if the cost and headache of security for end users remains higher in crypto than it is in traditional finance, robust mainstream adoption will never occur. This is perhaps our biggest barrier to rebounding as an industry and onboarding the next 100 million users.

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing one. Our industry has a trust deficit, and scams and hacks have just as much to do with it as the FTX and Three Arrows debacles. Crypto is often colloquially referred to as a “dark forest,” where transacting parties that are identified as exploitable typically end up exploited (or destroyed). I personally don’t want to live in a dark forest, and neither do users. It’s on us to create a lighted path forward. End-user security can’t be just a buzzword for our industry anymore — it must be a key pillar of our turnaround.

Riccardo Pellegrini is the co-founder and CEO of Web3 Builders. He served previously in positions including head of product for Amazon Web Services' Data Exchange, and as CEO of Crossfield Digital. He finished his undergraduate career and obtained an MBA both at Harvard University.

This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

The 10 largest crypto hacks and exploits in 2022 saw $2.1B stolen

The 10 largest crypto hacks and exploits in 2022 saw $2.1B stolen

Just the top 10 major cryptocurrency exploits garnered over $2 billion for malicious actors in a year that was marred with bankruptcies and collapses.

It's been a turbulent year for the cryptocurrency industry — market prices have taken a huge dip, crypto giants have collapsed and billions have been stolen in crypto exploits and hacks.

It was not even halfway through October when Chainalysis declared 2022 to be the “biggest year ever for hacking activity.”

As of Dec. 29, the 10 largest exploits of 2022 have seen $2.1 billion stolen from crypto protocols. Below are those exploits and hacks, ranked from smallest to largest.

10: Beanstalk Farms exploit — $76M

Stablecoin protocol Beanstalk Farms suffered a $76 million exploit on April 18 from an attacker using a flash loan to buy governance tokens. This was used to pass two proposals that inserted malicious smart contracts.

The exploit was initially thought to have cost around $182 million as Beanstalk was drained of all its collateral but in the end, the attacker only managed to get away with less than half that.

9: Qubit Finance bridge exploit — $80M

Qubit Finance, a decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol on BNB Smart Chain, had over $80 million worth of BNB (BNB) stolen on Jan. 28 in a bridge exploit.

The attacker duped the protocol's smart contract into believing they had deposited collateral that allowed them to mint an asset representing bridged Ether (ETH).

They repeated this multiple times and borrowed multiple cryptocurrencies against the unbacked bridged ETH, draining the protocol’s funds.

8: Rari Fuse exploit — $79.3M

Another DeFi protocol called Rari Capital was exploited on April 30 for the sum of roughly $79.3 million.

The attacker exploited a reentrancy vulnerability in the protocol’s Rar Fuse liquidity pool smart contracts, making them call a function to a malicious contract to drain the pools of all crypto.

In September, Tribe DAO, which includes Rari Capital and other DeFi protocols, voted to reimburse affected users from the hack.

7: Harmony bridge hack — $100M

In yet another bridge hack, the Horizon Bridge that links Ethereum, Bitcoin (BTC), and BNB Chain to Harmony’s layer-1 blockchain was drained of around $100 million in multiple cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain forensics firm Elliptic pinned the hack on North Korean cybercriminal syndicate Lazarus Group, as the funds were laundered in a similar way to other known Lazarus attacks.

Lazarus is understood to have targeted Harmony employee login credentials, breaching the platform’s security system and gaining control of the protocol before deploying automated laundering programs to move their ill-gotten gains.

6: BNB Chain bridge exploit — $100M

The BNB Chain was paused on Oct. 6 due to “irregular activity” on the network, which later was revealed as an exploit that drained around $100 million from its cross-chain bridge, the BSC Token Hub.

Initially, it was thought the attacker was able to take around $600 million due to a vulnerability that allowed the creation of roughly two million BNB, the chain’s native token.

Unfortunately for the attacker, they had roughly over $400 million worth of digital assets frozen on the blockchain and more was possibly stuck in cross-chain bridges on the BNB blockchain side.

5: Wintermute hack — $160M

United Kingdom based crypto market-maker Wintermute suffered from a compromised hot wallet that saw approximately $160 million across 70 tokens transferred out of the wallet.

Analysis from blockchain cybersecurity firm CertiK claimed a vulnerable private key was attacked that was likely generated by Profanity — an app that allows users to generate vanity crypto addresses, that has a known exploit.

According to CertiK, this allowed the attacker to use a function with the private key that allowed the hacker to change the platform’s swap contract to the hacker’s own.

Conspiracy theories alleging the hack was an “inside job” due to how it was carried out were debunked by blockchain security firm BlockSec, who said the allegations were “not convincing enough.”

4: Nomad token bridge exploit — 190M

On Aug. 2, the Nomad token bridge, which allows users to swap cryptocurrencies across multiple blockchains, was drained by multiple attackers to the tune of $190 million.

A smart contract vulnerability that failed to properly validate transaction inputs was the cause of the exploit.

Multiple users, seemingly both malicious and benevolent, were able to copy the original attacker’s moves to funnel funds to themselves. Around 88% of addresses taking part in the exploit were identified as “copycats” in a report.

Only around $32.6 million worth of funds were able to be intercepted and returned to the protocol by white hat hackers.

3: Wormhole bridge exploit — $321M

The Wormhole token bridge suffered an exploit on Feb. 2 that resulted in the loss of 120,000 Wrapped Ether (wETH) tokens worth $321 million.

Wormhole allows users to send and receive crypto between multiple blockchains. An attacker found a vulnerability in the protocol’s smart contract and was able to mint 120,000 wETH on Solana (SOL) unbacked by collateral and was then able to swap this for ETH.

At the time it was marked as the largest exploit in 2022 and is the third-largest protocol loss overall for the year.

2: FTX wallet hack — $477 million

During the start of FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings on Nov. 11 and 12, a series of unauthorized transactions took place at the exchange, with Elliptic suggesting that around $477 million worth of crypto was stolen.

Sam Bankman-Fried said in a Nov. 16 interview that he believed it was “either an ex-employee or somewhere someone installed malware on an ex-employee’s computer” and had narrowed the perpetrator down to eight people before he was shut out of the company’s systems.

Related: 7 biggest crypto collapses of 2022 the industry would like to forget

According to reports, on Dec. 27 the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation into the whereabouts of around $372 million of the missing crypto.

1: Ronin bridge hack — $612M

The largest exploit to take place in 2022 happened on March 23, when the Ronin bridge was exploited for around $612 million — 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USD Coin (USDC).

Ronin is an Ethereum sidechain built for Axie Infinity, a play-to-earn nonfungible token (NFT) game. Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity’s developers, said the hackers gained access to private keys, compromised validator nodes and approved transactions that drained funds from the bridge.

The U.S. Treasury Department updated its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list on April 14 to reflect the possibility that Lazarus Group was behind the bridge’s exploit.

The Ronin bridge hack is the largest cryptocurrency exploit to ever take place.