Crypto Crime: $11 Billion Amassed In 2021

In 2021, criminals held $11 billion worth of cryptocurrency with known illicit sources, a substantial increase from the $3 billion at the end of 2020.

According to Chainalysis, stolen funds made up 93% of all criminal balances at $9.8 billion in 2021. Darknet market funds came in at $448 million, while scams totalled at $192 million, fraud shops at $66 million, and ransomware at $30 million. 

In its crypto crime report, Chainalysis also stated that more than 4,000 criminal whales have a total of $25 billion worth of crypto as a group. Chainanalysis defines a criminal whale as a private wallet with at least $1 million of crypto that has received over 10% of its funds from illicit addresses. 

2021 is now the highest year on record for crypto-based crime, as the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic encouraged an increased number of online transactions and investments. 

Chainanalysis’ report follows on from the US Department of Justice seizing around $2 million worth of crypto from the DarkSide ransomware operators behind the attack on Colonial Pipeline. Meanwhile, in the UK, London’s Metropolitan Police Service made its largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency, taking $180 million worth from a suspected money launderer. 

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