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NFTs worth $100 million stolen in past year, research firm Elliptic says

Thieves stole over $100 million price of non-fungible tokens within the 12 months to July, blockchain analysis agency Elliptic mentioned on Wednesday, because the fast-emerging digital asset turned a brand new entrance in crypto’s hacking drawback.

NFTs are blockchain-based property that signify digital information akin to pictures, video or textual content.

The market surged in 2021 as crypto-rich speculators spent billions of {dollars} on the property, hoping to revenue as costs rose. However since cryptocurrency costs crashed in Could and June this 12 months, NFT costs and gross sales volumes have plunged.

Scams stay rife within the NFT market even because it declines, with July seeing the best variety of NFTs reported stolen on document, London-based Elliptic mentioned in a report.

Safety compromises through social media have surged, accounting for 23% of NFT thefts in 2022, it mentioned.

Thieves acquired on common $300,000 per rip-off, Elliptic mentioned. The true scale of NFT thefts is more likely to be even increased, on condition that not all crimes are publicly reported, it added.

Hacks and scams have lengthy plagued the crypto business, whereas regulators world wide are more and more involved about the usage of crypto property in cyber crime.

Elliptic put the quantity of money-laundering in NFT-based platforms at simply $8 million. However virtually $329 million price of funds within the NFT market got here from companies akin to so-called cryptocurrency mixers, that are designed to cover the funds’ origin, Elliptic mentioned.

One such mixer, Tornado Cash, was used for laundering simply over half of the proceeds of NFT scams, Elliptic mentioned, earlier than it was sanctioned by the US this month.

“There’s a rising menace to NFT-based companies from sanctioned entities and state-sponsored exploits,” Elliptic mentioned, citing a $540 million theft in April which U.S. officers have linked to North Korea’s Lazarus Group

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