Cryptocurrency scammers have netted $4.26B so far this year, report

Cryptocurrency scammers continued to swindle funds throughout Q2 2019, netting approximately $4.26 billion so far this year.

According to CipherTrace latest report, insider thefts were by far the largest offenders, netting massive loses on investors and cryptocurrency exchange users.

If things carry on the way they are, 2019 could go down in cryptocurrency history as the year of the exit scam.

Aside from the QuadrigaCX disaster, Plus Token app, a cryptocurrency wallet and exchange (and alleged Ponzi scheme based in South Korea) is thought to have defrauded millions of victims out of a staggering $2.9 billion in cryptocurrency assets.

In terms of robberies, hackers stole over $124 million from cryptocurrency exchanges and companies during Q2, bringing the year’s total to date to $227 million.

Bitcoin rules the dark web

The report also found that Bitcoin dominated dark web markets and cybercrime.

Indeed, according to the report, the world’s most famous cryptocurrency was the prime form of payment for illegal drugs, weapons, cyber, and banking credentials.

The report also looks at the use of other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Monero, Bitcoin Cash, and Dogecoin, in dark markets and malware or ransomware attacks.

Data showing cryptocurrency usage on dark web markets via CipherTrace

According to the results, privacy coins are barely used in dark web markets and dark vendor sites. Researchers say only 4 percent of instances involve Monero, whereas Bitcoin was used in 76 percent of dark market cases and Ethereum only in 7 percent.

Bitcoins dominance was even more striking in the case of malware and ransomware, where the cryptocurrency was used in 98 percent of cases. In stark contrast, Ethereum was only used in 1 percent of instances.

The findings, the report says, suggest that although privacy coins may seem attractive to criminals, the barriers to entry for buying and selling cryptocurrencies such as Monero makes them impractical for most dark web market purchases and ransomware payments.

Additionally, as regulators across the globe seek to implement the Financial Action Task Force’s travel rule – which requires exchanges to collect and transfer customer information during transactions – it’s likely that the number of exchanges willing to trade privacy coins will go down.

Published August 13, 2019 — 09:22 UTC

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