Crypto Laundering on The Rise, Close to $1.2 Billion Stolen Via Privacy-based Coins and More

According to a report released by CCN, security firm, CipherTrace conducted an in-depth analysis in which the firm confirmed the increase cryptocurrency-based criminal activities. In addition, the firm stated that such activities were quite common in the first half of 2018, and all of them were done through “bitcoin tumblers and privacy coins”. The efforts were done to hide the origin of the transaction, while hacking and laundering money.

Based on CipherTrace’s report, criminals were able to secretly get hold of a total of $1.2 billion worth of cryptocurrencies from exchanges alone in the years 2017 and 2018. It appears that the average criminal had a basic idea about cryptos, or as they put it, “early adopters of new technologies”.

Hacking and conducting illegal activities through cryptocurrencies has become common due to the nature of such coins, that is, factors like privacy and anonymity.

CCN’s report indicated that CipherTrace also gave an elaborate procedure as to how most criminals managed to get away and here is a simple outline:

  • First, a “cleansing” process takes place, which is done using a mix of tumblers and chain hopping
  • Tumblers are used to mix up addresses, which is done to reduce traceability of a transaction

Unfortunately, privacy coins were preferable among criminals, especially the likes of Zcash and Monero, which agencies like the U.S Secret Services were watchful of.

The severity of this problem requires immediate attention, as the number of thefts only seem to grow exponentially. According to the FBI Statistics, 2017 theft amounted to $58.3 million. Recently, the Secret Service announced that they were able to “seize over $28 million in cryptocurrencies in the course of our criminal investigations, primarily in the form of bitcoin”.

Major issues like this makes many reconsider regulations, which for the longest time has been negatively perceived. If such activities persist, the entire crypto market might be questioned.

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