Cryptocurrency-related crimes fell significantly in 2020 due to strict compliance and regulatory measures around the world. The total proceeds from crypto crime dropped by more than $5 billion in 2020.
According to a report by Chainalysis, 2019 recorded $21.4 billion worth of cryptocurrency transfers through illegal activities. The number fell sharply to nearly $10 billion in 2020. Overall, illegal transactions represented 0.34% of the total cryptocurrency transfers in 2020, a significant drop compared to 2.1% in 2019.
The report also mentioned that the percentage share of illicit transactions in the cryptocurrency market is comparatively smaller than the number of illicit funds involved in traditional finance. Illicit crypto transactions were mainly related to the darknet markets, scams, and terrorism financing.
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“However, the big story for cryptocurrency-based crime in 2020 is ransomware. That may sound counterintuitive, as ransomware accounted for just 7% of all funds received by criminal addresses at just under $350 million worth of cryptocurrency. But, that figure represents a 311% increase over 2019. No other category of cryptocurrency-based crime rose so dramatically in 2020, as Covid-prompted work-from-home measures opened up new vulnerabilities for many organizations,” the official report states.
Cryptocurrency Market in 2021
The cryptocurrency market has seen 100% growth since the start of 2021. Additionally, the bad actors are planning to take advantage of recent market growth. Chainalysis outlined the potential threats to the digital assets market. The report stated that the use of DeFi for money laundering will increase in 2021.
“DeFi platforms such as decentralized exchanges have existed for years, but took off in 2020 due in large part to improvements in user interfaces, which made them much easier for relatively inexperienced cryptocurrency users. This in turn led to greater liquidity, which made DeFi platforms even more appealing, creating a flywheel effect that led to even more growth. We expect those trends to continue in 2021, which will only make DeFi more attractive to criminals,” the company mentioned in the report.