According to the “Crypto Crime Mid-year Update” report from blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, the first half of 2023 has witnessed a significant decline in cryptocurrency-related crimes. However, ransomware incidents are set for a massive spike due to the resurgence of “big game hunting.”
The analysis of the Chainalysis blog post reveals that the volume of cryptocurrency inflows to illicit entities has plunged by 65% compared to the same period in 2022, with the overall crypto crime rate reducing by 65%.
In a striking revelation, the Chainalysis report disclosed that scam-related crimes have borne the brunt of this decline, recording nearly $3.3 billion less in stolen funds compared to 2022, despite the overall uptick in cryptocurrency prices. The plummeting scam revenue has been largely attributed to the sudden disappearance of two prominent scams, VidiLook and Chia Tai Tianqing Pharmaceutical Financial Management. Although these scams adhered to the standard investment scam model, their abrupt exit created a noticeable dent in the total scam revenue.
On the other hand, ransomware-based crime has not seen the same decrease. This form of cybercrime, which rose in prominence during 2021, is projected to continue its upward trajectory in 2023, with attackers already extorting $175.8 million more than they did at this time in 2022. The report credits this increase to the return of “big game hunting,” where large and wealthy organizations are specifically targeted by ransomware attackers.
However, despite the mixed trends in different forms of cryptocurrency-related crimes, the report underscores the substantial progress made in combatting cryptocurrency fraud and theft. Thanks to regulatory pressure and enhanced security measures from crypto businesses, a broader decline in illicit crypto transactions has been observed. But as the report rightly warns, with ransomware still on the rise, vigilance is key.