Despite all bitcoin has accomplished over the past 12 years, it looks like the world’s number one cryptocurrency by market still holds a very prominent place amongst dark market users, according to a new report by Chainalysis.
Chainalysis: Nearly 1 Million BTC Owned By Hackers
The blockchain and cybersecurity firm reports that roughly 900,000 bitcoin units are owned by hackers, scammers, and dark web buyers. This represents close to five percent of the globe’s total BTC supply and amounts to nearly $10 billion. The real danger is that all this money could enter financial institutions, banks, exchanges and other digital money firms at any moment through laundering schemes.
It seems like despite all the hard work that bitcoin has put into becoming mainstream or legitimate, the asset has had a hard time shaking its dark market reputation. For example, it was recently announced by Grayscale that more than $1 billion in BTC investments had been made during its second quarter.
That means more than $300 million in investments were made each month for a period of three months. Grayscale is an institutional investment platform, meaning only professional traders have access to the assets it offers.
However, at around the same time, a massive Twitter BTC hack took place that saw many accounts of high-ranking individuals – including those of Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, former president Barack Obama, his vice president Joe Biden and Microsoft mogul Bill Gates – overtaken and hijacked by scammers looking to get their fingers on bitcoin they didn’t own and didn’t earn.
The hackers sent out messages through these accounts and others asking their followers to forward bitcoin funds on the promise that whatever they sent would be doubled. However, this is not what happened. Many users who sent money to the anonymous addresses that were provided never saw their funds again.
The good news is that little money was taken via the scam. Overall, around $121,000 in BTC funds were stolen, which really doesn’t amount to much. However, when one considers the scope of the hijacking and how many top accounts were infiltrated, the situation becomes even scarier.
Too Hard to Become Mainstream?
The other problem associated with the dark market community is that bitcoin transactions tend to move fast. The owners of the illicit funds are trying to hide their money quickly. Over just the last week alone, Chainalysis has reported that the owners of the illicit bitcoins in question have moved more than $3 million to individual exchanges. In addition, nearly half-a-million was sent to mixers, while just over $200,000 were sent to other service firms.
While recent maneuvers – such as banks’ permission to grant crypto custody services – can assist BTC in reaching mainstream status, it’s not probable to think that BTC will hit this mark unless it can shake the dark side of its reputation permanently.