The amount of money used illicitly to purchase cryptos hit a record high of $20.1 billion last year as the number of transactions involving US-sanctioned businesses increased sharply.
The crypto market tanked in 2022 as investors’ appetite for risk decreased, and several crypto companies filed for bankruptcy. Significant losses for investors prompted regulators to call for increased consumer protection.
According to Chainalysis, transactions connected to blocked companies increased more than 100,000 times in 2022. They made up 44% of all illegal activity in the previous year.
Funds received by the Russian exchange Garantex, which the US Treasury Department sanctioned in April, accounted for “much of 2022’s illicit volume,” with “likely Russian users using a Russian exchange” accounting for most of that activity. Wallets are illicit if they are not part of a sanctioned entity.
The US imposed sanctions on Blender and Tornado Cash last year as well. It claimed that hackers, including those from North Korea, were using them for billions of dollars in proceeds from cybercrime.
The volume of other illegal cryptocurrency transactions, such as those connected to scams, ransomware, terrorism financing, and human trafficking, decreased last year. However, the stolen funds rose by 7%.
Its $20.1 billion estimate only includes blockchain activity and excludes “off-chain” crimes such as fraudulent accounting by cryptocurrency firms.
The figure also excludes instances in which crypto is the proceeds of non-crypto-related crimes, like drug trafficking.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) prices have surged nearly 10% in the past 24 hours as traders anticipate potential network changes ahead of the protocol’s hard fork in May.
BCH broke through the $108 resistance and reached as high as $125 on Friday, according to the price chart. Buying interest could propel the price to at least $150, the next resistance level. Smaller transaction sizes, which could allow Bitcoin Cash-based applications to be built that offer recurring payments, derivatives trading, and crowdfunding opportunities, among other uses, to Bitcoin Cash users, are already in the works.
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