North Korean hackers stole a total of $395 million worth of crypto coins last year across seven intrusions into cryptocurrency exchanges and investment firms. The past year saw a breathtaking rise in the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, with Bitcoin gaining 60 percent in value in 2021 and Ethereum spiking 80 percent.

The nine-figure sum represents a nearly $100 million increase over the previous year's thefts by North Korean hacker groups. It brings their total haul over the past five years to $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency alone. That hoard of stolen cryptocurrency now contributes significantly to the coffers of Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime.

The findings show that North Korea's global, serial robberies have accelerated even in the midst of an attempted law enforcement crackdown. The US Justice Department, for instance, indicted three North Koreans in absentia in February of last year, accusing them of stealing at least $121 million from cryptocurrency businesses along with a slew of other financial crimes.

Chainalysis tracked seven thefts in 2021, three fewer than in 2020. Bitcoin accounts for only around 20 percent of the country's stolen funds. In 2018, North Korean hackers stole a record $522 million in cryptocurrency. The total number of thefts is expected to rise in the coming years.
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