Illicit ‘money laundering’ through cryptocurrencies is on the rise

Bitcoin Pedestal Cryptocurrencies 2022

The laundering of money from illicit activities through cryptocurrencies has increased by up to 30% in 2021 relative to the previous year.

Researchers estimate that in 2021 criminal groups laundered through cryptocurrencies some $8.6 billion of illicit origin

That is the conclusion of a report produced by Chainalysis, a company that collects and publishes data on technologies from the blockchain world. In total, the researchers estimate, in 2021 criminal gangs laundered through cryptocurrencies an amount of $8.6 billion.

Chainanalysis obtains this data through monitoring a number of cryptocurrency cartels linked to criminal activities. This includes ransomware attacks, malware operators, cyber scams, human trafficking, black market operations and even terrorist activity.

The company’s experts are dedicated to tracking addresses associated with criminal activities. From this data, they then estimate the amount of money laundered by converting it into cryptocurrencies.

The report is also accompanied by a detailed explanation about how money laundering by this route works. Researchers have found that much of this illicit money is converted into cryptocurrencies in small establishments currency exchange establishments, often financed by the criminals themselves. Thus, experts suggest, closing or controlling these establishments would help prevent money laundering.

The truth is that no one can be surprised by these data. Numerous investigations have long been warning about the use made by criminal groups of these unregulated assets. Just a few weeks ago, Spain announced that it would start to limit the advertising of these assets. Much more forceful was China, which last fall banned all cryptocurrency transactions as a “serious risk to the security of citizens’ assets”.

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