Crypto criminals got away with $5B less in 2020 as scam revenue falls

Revenue from crypto-related crime fell by more than half in 2020 according to Chainalysis’s annual report on the topic.

Cyber ​​criminals made nearly $ 5 billion in profits below $ 10 billion plus they got away with it in 2019, which is a decrease of 53%.

Transactions involving illicit funds have decreased more quickly than the total volume of those funds, dropping from 2.1% of all transactions analyzed in 2019 to just 0.34% last year.

Among the eight categories of transactions that Chainalysis deemed “illegal,” the dollar amount of cryptocurrencies obtained through scams fell 71% to $ 2.6 billion, largely due to the fact that the PlusToken multi-billion scandal Dollars in 2019 have made anything 2020 seen so far.

The total volume of crypto crime – including the proceeds of crime and attempts to launder it – decreased from more than $ 20 billion in 2019 to about $ 10 billion last year.

But not all the news is good, and perhaps the most disturbing part of the report is the discovery that ransomware-related theft increased by 311% from 2019 to 2020, representing an additional loss of over $ 250 million in 2020 compared to 2019.

Even as the ransomware and darknet market increases year-on-year, Chainalysis says the outlook for crypto-crimes “has never been better”, thanks to recent developments in regulation and compliance processes.

“The good news is triple: Crime related to cryptocurrencies is declining, still a fraction of the total cryptocurrency economy, and it is relatively smaller than the amount of illicit money involved in conventional financing.”

Chainalysis’s conclusions broadly mirror those of a recent report by the security firm CipherTrace, which found that crypto-related crime fell 57% in 2020.

According to Chainalysis, the surge in ransomware is due to the introduction of “new strains that take large amounts of casualties,” which, when combined with pre-existing ransomware strains, account for nearly $ 350 million in digital currency theft in 2020.

Although the origins of ransomware attacks may appear disparate and random, Chainalysis believes that infrastructure attackers need to launder cryptocurrencies into cash that “may be controlled by a few major players,” similar to the ransomware’s assets themselves.

Chainalysis also notes that the increasing collection of personally identifiable information from exchanges has effectively forced criminals to “rely on a surprisingly small group of service providers” to exchange illicit crypto holdings into legal tender.

“In the long term, the (compliance) efforts of exchanges will also remove some incentives to use the cryptocurrency in criminal activity, as it will become very difficult for cybercriminals to convert the cryptocurrency into cash if they cannot use the exchanges.”

Last month, the Justice Department announced that it confiscated $ 454,000 in cryptocurrency from the ransomware operator. The bust is the result of a collaboration with Chainalysis.