Billions of dollars in losses: Not everyone was able to make money on cryptocurrency in 2020


2020 was marked by numerous losses in the cryptocurrency market. Users suffered losses due to their own mistakes and sharp fluctuations in the price of bitcoin. Often the reason was scammers and hackers who hacked exchanges and DeFi projects. RBC Crypto writes about the most notorious cases over the past 12 months.

Scammers

In 2020, novice users lost funds due to scammers. For example, in May, two residents of Veliky Novgorod lost more than $ 1 million rubles. They said that they had transferred the money to an “unknown consultant” who offered them to purchase cryptocurrency on “favorable terms”, but after receiving the funds, they stopped communicating.

In October, a similar story happened with a pensioner from Voronezh. She confided in an unknown trader who promised to help invest in cryptocurrency profitably. When the operation was completed, the fraudster stopped communicating. So the woman lost about 1 million rubles.

Towards the end of the year, similar cases began to occur more often. In December, a 46-year-old resident of Omsk, wanting to buy bitcoins, lost 900 thousand rubles. She discovered a platform on the Internet offering to invest in cryptocurrencies and began transferring money to it. The woman sent funds to the site within a month, but still did not receive digital assets.

Around the same time a Muscovite suffered from scammers. He was going to sell the cryptocurrency for cash, and agreed to conduct a deal in a restaurant in the capital. But unknown persons stole a bag from a man with 12 million rubles. after the operation.

Another Muscovite lost 11 million rubles, but this time due to phishing. He kept 6 bitcoins and 70 ethers on the famous crypto wallet blockchain.com. Having entered the service in November, the man did not find his funds. Later it turned out that the reason for the incident was the visit by the investor of a fake website, which allowed the attackers to find out his personal data.

Own mistakes

Investors have lost a lot of cryptocurrencies due to their own mistakes. One such incident occurred in May. Then a Reddit user said that he lost $ 1.2 thousand of Ethereum by accidentally uploading the seed phrase necessary to restore access to the crypto wallet to the GitHub portal.

The cybercriminals had a special program prepared for such a case. It automatically checked the portal for users making such mistakes. The bot found the seed phrase, got access to the wallet within one and a half minutes and withdrew funds.

In June, another mistake was made by Eric Savix, the host of the Protocol Podcast. He downloaded a fake Google Chrome extension for storing cryptocurrencies, Keep Key, where he was required to enter a key from a crypto wallet. The investor did this and, thus providing access to his assets to scammers, lost $ 110 thousand.

In the same month, another investor lost about $ 2.4 million after making a mistake while transferring Ethereum. He wanted to send coins, but he probably confused the fields "transfer amount" and "commission". As a result, the user transferred 350 ETH, paying 10.6 thousand ETH for the operation in the form of a commission.

In August, 1400BitcoinStolen user shared how he lost 1.4 thousand bitcoins in one action. At that time, their value was $ 16 million now - $ 37 million. The investor kept funds on the Electrum wallet. At the end of the summer, he decided to update the app. After the new version was installed, unknown persons withdrew all the coins from the wallet.

In September, another mistake during the transfer of funds was made by the USDT token holder. He sent $ 1 million in cryptocurrency to the wrong address. As a result, the funds remained locked on the Swerve.Finance DeFi platform smart contract, which cannot be returned. But the man was lucky - a representative of the Tether company, which issues the USDT stablecoin, was able to recover the lost funds.

In December, another user lost a significant amount of cryptocurrency by indicating an erroneous commission. The investor was going to send 3.49 bitcoin, paying 0.00005000 BTC for the operation, but probably mixed up the fields during the transfer. As a result, a $ 1 transaction cost the user $ 80,000.

Liquidation

In 2020, traders have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in leveraged trading. The first large amount of liquidations in the past 12 months was recorded in March. On the 12-13th, the price of BTC decreased from $ 8.5 thousand to $ 3.8 thousand. Against this background, the positions of 235 thousand users were liquidated. In total, they lost $ 5.8 billion per day.

The situation repeated itself in May, however, this time the losses were much smaller. The price of bitcoin on the 10th fell from $ 9.7 to $ 8.1 thousand. Because of this, exchanges liquidated user positions for $ 1.22 billion.

During these liquidations, most of the losses were incurred by users who opened long positions and expected the cryptocurrency to rise in price. But after, when BTC entered the growth phase, the situation changed in the opposite direction - holders of short positions began to lose capital to a greater extent.
So, at the end of November, when the bitcoin rate skyrocketed to $ 18.5 thousand, another wave of liquidations took place. Exchanges forcibly closed the positions of 73 thousand users. Their cumulative loss was $ 800 million.

A few days after that, the bitcoin rate continued to rise and for the first time this year approached $ 20 thousand. Then there was a sharp decline to $ 16 thousand. Because of such price fluctuations, the capital of both long and short positions suffered. The daily liquidation volume exceeded $ 1.9 billion.
One of the most recent large-scale liquidations took place on December 27, when the bitcoin rate rose above $ 28,000 and set a new all-time high. On that day, 58 thousand users suffered losses on leveraged trading. In total, they lost $ 500 million during the day.

Hacks

In 2020, many exchanges and DeFi projects have been hacked. One of the first occurred in March. Then the hackers exploited the vulnerability of the MakerDAO platform and thanks to this they were able to buy cryptocurrencies worth $ 8.3 million for almost free.

In August, two trading platforms were hacked. First, the hackers gained access to the assets of the small Slovak exchange Eterbase and stole $ 4 million in cryptocurrency. Then the unknown were able to steal about $ 280 million from the KuCoin platform, but later part of the funds was recovered.

In December, three projects were attacked at once. Earlier this month, a hacker stole $ 8 million in cryptocurrency from the founder of the Nexus Mutual project Hugh Carp. Later, the attacker began to blackmail him, demanding to pay another $ 2.6 million. At the same time, the attackers withdrew 5% of its assets from the EXMO exchange. At the end of December, unknown persons attacked the Livecoin exchange, on which, as a result of stopping the withdrawal of funds, the bitcoin rate rose to $ 2 million

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