Blockchain Bridges Hacks

Nick Sawinyh on 07 Jul 2023

Decentralized Finance (DeFi) has rapidly gained popularity in recent years, offering users financial services without intermediaries. However, the rise of DeFi has also attracted malicious actors, resulting in numerous high-profile hacks and vulnerabilities. In this blog post, we will explore some of the notable DeFi hacks that have occurred, the lessons learned from each incident, and the ongoing challenges faced by the industry.


$800k Hack - July 2, 2021

The ChainSwap hack exposed a smart contract bug, causing users to lose funds. ChainSwap swiftly responded by shutting down all nodes and deploying a fix within 30 minutes, showcasing the importance of quick response times and effective communication during a crisis.

$4.4M Hack - July 10, 2021

ChainSwap faced another vulnerability just days after the initial incident, resulting in significant financial losses. This incident highlighted the need for continuous security audits and thorough testing of smart contracts to prevent repeat vulnerabilities.


$7.9M Hack - July 10, 2021

Compromised MPC keys due to repeated k-values led to the Multichain hack. This incident underscored the importance of secure key management and the need to regularly review and update cryptographic protocols to prevent key-related vulnerabilities.

$3M Hack - January 17, 2022

The Multichain hack exposed vulnerabilities in approvals, resulting in the draining of funds. Whitehat hackers played a significant role in recovering a portion of the stolen funds. The incident showcased the value of ethical hackers and the potential for bug bounties as an incentive for vulnerability discovery.

$130M+ (Ongoing) - July 6, 2023

As investigations continue into the latest Multichain hack, the incident highlights the persistent challenges faced by the DeFi industry.


$5M Hack - July 16, 2021

A smart contract bug in Thorchain’s protocol resulted in a substantial loss of funds. The incident emphasized the criticality of extensive code review and testing, particularly for complex decentralized systems, to identify and address potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

$8M Hack - July 26, 2021

Thorchain suffered another smart contract bug, further highlighting the persistent challenges faced by DeFi platforms in ensuring the security of their protocols. The incident reinforced the need for ongoing security audits and the adoption of best practices in software development and testing.

Poly Network

$610M Hack - August 10, 2021

The Poly Network hack, one of the largest in DeFi history, revealed a smart contract bug. However, a remarkable turn of events occurred when Tether froze $33 million worth of USDT, and the hackers returned the stolen funds. This incident emphasized the importance of collaboration between industry stakeholders, including the willingness of centralized entities to cooperate with decentralized systems.

$10M Hack - July 1, 2023

Poly Network faced another smart contract bug, indicating the ongoing challenges in securing DeFi protocols. The incident prompted a review of signature validation mechanisms and highlighted the need for continuous improvement and adaptation in response to evolving threats.

Wormhole $326M Hack - February 2, 2022

A smart contract bug led to a significant loss of funds in the Wormhole hack. The incident highlighted the need for comprehensive security measures and continuous monitoring of contracts to detect and address vulnerabilities promptly.

Li Finance $600k Hack - March 20, 2022

Li Finance discovered a smart contract bug 12 hours after its deployment, promptly pausing the affected contracts. This incident demonstrated the importance of post-deployment monitoring and the ability to respond swiftly to mitigate potential risks.

Ronin $650M Hack - March 23, 2022

The Ronin hack, orchestrated by the Lazarus group, remained undetected for six days, leading to substantial financial losses. This incident raised concerns about the sophistication of attackers and the necessity for advanced security measures, including multi-factor authentication and robust threat detection systems.

Harmony Horizon Bridge $100M Hack - June 24, 2022

The compromise of keys in the Harmony Horizon Bridge resulted in a significant breach. Protecting cryptographic keys and implementing stringent access controls emerged as crucial challenges for DeFi platforms.

Nomad $190M Hack - August 1, 2022

Whitehat hackers intervened to rescue some funds in the Nomad Bridge hack. The incident highlighted the importance of a collaborative approach to security, with ethical hackers working alongside projects to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities.

BNB Chain Bridge $566M Hack - October 7, 2022

Improper Merkle tree validation led to the BNB Chain hack, resulting in substantial financial losses. This incident emphasized the need for robust validation mechanisms and rigorous testing to ensure the integrity of blockchain data structures.


The history of DeFi hacks showcases the evolving nature of security challenges in the decentralized ecosystem. As the industry grows, developers, auditors, and users must prioritize security at every stage, including smart contract development, code review, security audits, and ongoing monitoring. Collaboration, transparency, and the adoption of best practices will be key to ensuring the long-term viability and trustworthiness of DeFi platforms. By learning from past incidents and implementing proactive security measures, the DeFi industry can strive towards a more secure and resilient future.


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About the author
Nick Sawinyh
Nick Sawinyh is a crypto entrepreneur based in LA. He founded DeFiprime in 2019 to offer information on emerging DeFi ecosystem. He owns small amounts of different cryptocurrencies.

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