The volume of illegal crypto assets laundered using cross-chain transactions reached a record $7 billion in a year. This is stated in a report from Elliptic.
Analysts included three categories of this criminal activity:
- decentralized exchanges that make it possible to exchange cryptocurrencies, including within the same blockchain;
- cross-chain bridges through which coins move between networks;
- crypto exchange services that do not follow the rules KYC.
In the first “State of Online Crime” report published in October 2022, Elliptic experts counted $4.1 billion in assets laundered through these routes. According to their estimates, by the end of 2023 the figure should have been $6.5 billion.
“However, our latest $7 billion estimate demonstrates that online crime is growing at a faster rate than predicted,” the analysts stated.
In their opinion, the popularity of money laundering using this method is associated with:
- the transition of criminal activity from Bitcoin to other coins with attractive qualities such as confidentiality (Monero, etc.) or stable prices (stablecoins USDT, DAI, etc.);
- generating criminal proceeds in tokens other than digital gold, for example, as a result of hacking DeFi protocols;
- the lack of verification for cross-chain services, unlike centralized platforms;
- the lack of analytical tools that allow you to reliably track transactions between blockchains;
- enforcement actions against mixers and exchanges that do not comply with KYC rules, which has led to the search for alternatives.
Through decentralized exchanges alone, attackers laundered $3.9 billion in 12 months as of July 2023. Compared to the previous period, the figure increased by 82%.
By asset origin, criminal internet transactions have increased significantly in the Ponzi and theft segments.
The Lazarus Group, associated with the hacker group, accounted for $900 million – about a seventh of the total amount.
Let us remind you that from January to August, the Web3 industry lost $1.25 billion from hackers and scammers, according to Immunefi analysts.
September was the record month of the year with losses of $329.8 million, according to CertiK.
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