A representation of cryptocurrency Monero is seen in this illustration taken August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustrationo
LONDON, Aug 16 (Reuters) - For most of the 13-year life of cryptocurrencies, exchanges were the epicentre for cyberheists. Now, a bigger hacking risk in the growing sector has exploded into view: peer-to-peer crypto platforms.
One such site, Poly Network, was at the centre of a $610 million crypto theft last week, one of the biggest ever. Within days of the heist, the decentralised finance (DeFi) platform said the "white hat" hacker or hackers had returned nearly all the loot.
The unusual ending to the Poly Network saga belies fast-emerging risks in this growing corner of crypto, where an estimated $80 billion or more is held, interviews with industry executives, lawyers and analysts show.
DeFi sites allow users to lend, borrow and save - usually in cryptocurrencies - while bypassing the traditional gatekeepers of finance such as banks and exchanges. Backers say the technology offers cheaper and more efficient access to financial services.