Theft of cryptocurrencies through hacking of exchanges and trading platforms soared to $927m in the first nine months of the year, up nearly 250% from the level seen in 2017, according to a report from US-based cyber security firm CipherTrace released on Wednesday.
The report, which looks at criminal activity and money laundering in the digital currency market, also showed a steadily growing number of smaller thefts in the $20m-$60m range, totalling $173m in the third quarter.
Digital currencies stolen from exchanges in 2017 totalled just $266m, according to a previous report from CipherTrace.
Bitcoin’s popularity and the emergence of more than 1,600 other digital coins or tokens have drawn more hackers into the cryptocurrency space, expanding opportunities for crime and fraud.
“The regulators are still a couple of years behind because there are only a few countries that have really applied strong anti-money laundering laws,” Dave Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace, told Reuters in an interview.