$761 Million Laundered Via Cryptocurrency Over First Half of This Year

July 9, 2018

According to the data of CipherTrace report, over the first six months of 2018 alone criminals stole thrice as much cryptocurrency as over the whole last year. The researchers believe this to result from money laundering in the industry.

As the document says, during the last two years scammers managed to hijack total $1.21 billion in cryptocurrency. Total money volume however laundered with digital currencies from January to June this year has grown thrice when compared with the last year, from $266 million to $761 million. Moving on, the report stresses, these data can’t be regarded exact as researchers haven’t analyzed the most of crypto transactions at grey markets.

“That puts us on track for this year to probably see about $1.5 billion stolen through cryptocurrency, based on trends,” supposes CEO of CipherTrace Dave Jevans.

Jevans notes, fraudsters often use third party services to launder anonymously stolen funds. In addition, some of them advertise themselves via paid-for Google ads:

“These let people contribute funds into a combined pool that will scramble them up and try to use a different pool of liquidity that is not traceable on the blockchain, so there’s no linkage between them to deliver funds out to the receivers. These are written by highly skilled people who may have Ph.D.s, that are actively trying to avoid tracing. These guys are making quite a bit of money off these services. They typically charge around 3% to perform a laundering transaction.”

Jevans added, there is another method criminals may resort to, which is services for crypto conversion. These help them flip BTC to any other digital currency and then back to Bitcoin thus gaining profits.

But as CipherTrace CEO puts it, generally scammers just hope crypto exchanges have no anti-money laundering checks and nobody traces them.

Note that according to the January report by Bitcoin analyst group FDD and Ellicit company, the number of Bitcoin transactions involved directly in money laundering makes less than 1% of total number of operations.

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