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Bitcoin’s Criminal Money Share: 19%

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ByMarcel Bich

Jul 20, 2023
Bitcoin's Criminal Money Share: 19%
Marcel Bich
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According to a report by TRM Labs, cybercriminals are increasingly opting for fiat or alternative cryptocurrencies instead of Bitcoin (BTC) to facilitate the transfer of illicit funds.

The study highlights that cash and traditional financing methods like hawala continue to be the primary channels for financing illicit activities and laundering proceeds.

The report reveals a significant decline in the use of Bitcoin for illicit transactions over the past seven years. BTC’s share of illicit transactions has plummeted from 97% in 2016 to only 19% in 2022. While approximately $2 billion in cryptocurrency was stolen last year due to cross-chain bridge attacks, the stolen funds in BTC were relatively minimal.

BTC’s prominence as a cryptocurrency for terrorist financing has waned, with Tron (TRX) taking the lead in 2022, accounting for 92% of illegal activity. Additionally, TRM Labs observed a 240% increase in the use of Tether (USDT) among terrorist financing organizations in 2022.

Tracing the Path of Stolen Money

Ponzi schemes were used by thieves to steal at least $7.8 billion last year. Over $9 billion worth of cryptocurrencies was routed to addresses linked to numerous fraud operations overall. DeFi-protocol vulnerabilities also gave attackers a $3.7 billion windfall.

Approximately $1.5 billion of that sum was used mostly to purchase pharmaceuticals on darknet marketplaces. On Russian websites, Bitcoin remained the dominant cryptocurrency (80%), whilst Monero remained the dominant cryptocurrency on American websites. In 2022, pornographic-content websites got at least $3.32 million.

The Stolen Money Traveled to North Korea in Excess of $1 Billion

North Korea reportedly stole a record $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in one year, according to the UN Security Council. A year prior, Pyongyang had stolen $630 million in cryptocurrencies. 

According to US authorities, North Korea steals cryptocurrency to pay for half of its expenditures on missiles. The United States administration is attempting to learn how “such a country manages to be so resourceful in this space,” but other nations can assist North Korea in the meanwhile.

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Marcel Bich

Marcel ‘s passion for the world of cryptocurrencies and his comprehensive knowledge of blockchain technology make him an invaluable asset to our team. He stays updated on the latest trends, regulations, and emerging technologies in the crypto space, ensuring that our audience receives accurate and up-to-date information.