The second largest crypto heist ever happened this week
Around $600 million in Ethereum was stolen from an NFT gaming blockchain, it was announced today. It occurred thanks to what appeared to be a relatively simple exploit, and has renewed questions about just how long it will be until regulation comes to the crypto space in full.
The compromised blockchain platform was Ronin – the same one that the popular NFT-based game, Axie Infinity sits on – and was achieved when the hacker leveraged hacked private keys to make two large withdrawals.
The only heist that has been larger (to date) was also around $600 million, and that occurred last year in August when Poly Network was attacked. Before these two the biggest hack was the one that targeted early-era cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox, and that was for $460 million back in 2014.
This suggests that criminal activity targeting crypto is getting larger in scale, and more frequent. With just two attacks totalling over $1 billion in stolen assets in the past 12 months (let alone all the smaller hacks), it is almost certain that today’s news will kickstart renewed discussions about regulation and consumer protection in the crypto space, and the speed in which these new laws and policies can be implemented.
That, in turn, will be concerning to those that like the decentralised nature of crypto for legal reasons, and those that worry that crypto regulation that is drawn too quickly will stifle innovation. However, the metaphor that many like to use is that crypto is a “Wild West,” and at some point, soon, the scale of people’s losses will make it impossible for lawmakers to look past it.