Bitcoin’s sustained nosedive is no reason for the bad guys to stop their nefarious ways as they carted away a total of $1.7 billion in digital cash – with on end in sight, just yet, despite measures implemented by tech experts to curb this lucrative industry.
New Tactics for Theft
Based on the 4th Quarter Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report by blockchain intelligence agency CipherTrace, of the $1.7 billion loot, more than $950 million was siphoned off form cryptocurrency exchanges, a figure three times as big as what hackers stole the previous year.
In 2018, hackers developed their own technology to breach even the most “secure” virtual currency infrastructure to dupe investors to the tune of almost $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Despite the fierce bear market atmosphere and grim price scenario, cryptocurrency theft continues to grow.
Some of the noted sinister schemes last year that experts see to grow for 2019 include ICOs exit scams, custodial services, pure scams, exchange hacks and Ponzi schemes.
According to analysts at CipherTrace, “unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges have facilitated upwards of 97% of criminal Bitcoin flows, due to ‘jurisdictions with weak AML and KYC regimes.’”
In the midst of all this, many are asking — why this was so? One of the reasons behind this is the deluge that hoisted bitcoin to its all-time peak of $20,000, but as Dave Jevans, CipherTrace chief executive officer, explains – there was something more behind the unscrupulous activity:
“Cryptocurrency criminal activity continues to evolve and accelerate. Fortunately, pending global legislation will hamstring many criminals, global gangs, and terrorist groups by greatly reducing their opportunities to launder.”
Meanwhile, Jevans aired a good ounce of optimism, saying that “We will see huge improvements this year with regulations coming into effect … as it becomes safer, bigger players will enter in a larger way which will bring stability and security to the market.”
Will authorities be able to quell the rising incidence of scams this year? Share us your views in the comments below.