Illegal transactions with cryptocurrencies reached a new record in 2021 and almost doubled in a year, although they are less and less significant in the set of operations with that digital currency, in full expansion.
The equivalent of some US $ 14 billion passed through digital wallets linked to illegal activities in 2021, compared to US $ 7.8 billion in 2020, the analysis firm Chainalysis estimated in a report.
“But these numbers do not tell the whole story”, because “the use of cryptocurrencies has grown at a rate never seen before”, with operations that amount to US $ 15.8 billion in 2021, a vertiginous increase of 567% compared to the previous year. ”, Highlights the report.
The firm specialized in the study of transactions on the “blockchain” – the technology behind bitcoin and the vast majority of cryptocurrencies – estimates that illegal transactions represent only 0.15% of the total use of cryptocurrencies.
Scams represent $ 7.8 billion, with the rise of “rug pulls” costing investors $ 2.8 billion. This blow is made by making the price of a cryptocurrency rise vertiginously, to sell it massively when it is at its peak, which causes its collapse. And then its authors vanish, pocketing the profits.
A particularly mediated example is that of a cryptocurrency called “Squidcoin”, which tenfold in price in the wake of the Netflix series “Squid Game”, before its price collapsed a few days after its creation.
Cryptocurrencies, decentralized currencies, were making their way into the world of financial operations, with procedures that the US stock market authority has described on several occasions as worthy of the “Far West”.
“An encouraging development in the fight against cryptocurrency-related crime is the growing ability of law enforcement agencies to directly seize illegally obtained assets,” notes the firm Chainalysis.