According to Chainalysis’s annual report on the topic, cryptocurrency-related crime proceeds more than halved in 2020.
The net worth of cybercriminals is roughly $ 5 billion less than the $ 10 billion they fled from in 2019, down 53%.
Transactions involving illicit funds fell faster than the total volume of such funds: from 2.1% of all transactions analyzed in 2019, to just 0.34% last year.
Among the eight classes of transactions deemed “illegal” by Chainalysis, the volume of fraudulently acquired dollar-denominated cryptocurrencies fell 71% to $ 2.6 billion, mainly due to the 2019 PlusToken scandal, which declined overall. 2020 to the present.
The total volume of cryptocurrencies, including the proceeds of crime and attempted laundering, has dropped from more than $ 20 billion in 2019 to about $ 10 billion last year.
But that’s not all the good news, and perhaps the most disturbing part of the report is that ransomware-related thefts rose 311% from 2019 to 2020, representing an additional loss of more than $ 250 million. in 2020 compared to 2019.
While ransomware and darknet marketing has grown year after year, Chainalysis says the outlook for cryptocurrency has “never been better” thanks to recent changes in regulatory and compliance processes.
“The good news is threefold: Crypto-related crime is declining, it is still a small part of the cryptocurrency economy as a whole, and relatively less than the amount of illegal money involved in conventional funding.”
The findings of the chain analysis broadly mirrored those presented in a recent report by security firm CipherTrace, which found that cryptocurrency-related crime dropped 57% in 2020.
According to Chainalysis, the rise in ransomware is due to the emergence of “new strains that carry a large number of victims”, which, combined with existing strains of ransomware in 2020, amounted to almost 350 million dollars in cryptocurrencies.
While the origins of ransomware attacks may seem varied and random, Chainalysis believes that infrastructure hijackers need to launder cryptocurrencies in order to obtain cash that “could be controlled by a few big players,” similar to the origins of ransomware itself.
Chainalysis also notes that the growing volume of personal information from exchanges has effectively forced criminals to “trust a surprisingly small group of service providers” to exchange illegal crypto assets for Fiat.
“In the long term, efforts to comply with stock market requirements will also remove some of the incentives to use cryptocurrency in criminal activities, since it will be very difficult for cybercriminals to monetize cryptocurrency if they cannot use exchanges.”
Last month, the Justice Department announced that it had confiscated $ 454,000 in cryptocurrency from the ransomware operator. The bust is the result of a collaboration with Chainalysis.