Unscrupulous criminal activity in the cryptocurrency sector has had a considerable impact on its growth and in the past, this has bitten down on certain crypto projects, forcing them to shut down in some cases. Now, CipherTrace – a blockchain security company – has put a $4.3 billion figure to criminal activity in the sector in the first half of 2019.
As stated in an Anti-Money Laundering report, the figure is an addition of all kinds of unlawful actions including downright theft and other kinds of swindling targeted both at owners of these digital assets and also the trading platforms they are held.
The report says for example, that at least $124 million was directly removed from several exchange firms, with this number eventually growing to $480 over the period being assessed. There was also the issue with a pyramid scheme disguised as an exchange platform called PlusToken, which successfully swindled about $2.9 billion from unsuspecting victims.
The report also shows that Bitcoin (BTC) was the most preferred for these illegal moves as it was the currency of choice for criminal purchases by the hackers. For ransomware for example, BTC dominated and is said to have been used for 98% of the hacks, with ETH used for just 1%.
On the dark market however, there was also extensive recorded use of certain other digital assets including Monero (XMR), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and Dogecoin (DOGE). However, BTC still dominates again.
“Bitcoin remains the coin of the realm in this shady world, with BTC used in 76% of dark market cases and ETC used in only 7% of instances.”
It should also be noted that the United Nations recently accused North Korea of sponsoring several cyber hacks and receiving at least $2 billion from the hacked institutions including exchange firms and banks.