Crypto Criminals Are Now Holding Over $25 Billion!
Chainalysis 2022 Crypto Criminals Report
Looking at the number of crypto criminals over the previous five years, we see that these wallet addresses can belong to criminal services, such as darknet markets, but they can also be held by private wallets in some situations, such as when stolen funds are involved.
Stolen funds account for 93% of all crypto criminal balances at $9.8 billion as of the end of 2021. Darknet market funds are next at $448 million, followed by scams at $192 million, fraud shops ($66 million), and ransomware ($30 million).
Criminal balances changed throughout the year, ranging from $6.6 billion in July to $14.8 billion in October. The swings highlight the necessity of timeliness in cryptocurrency investigations, since stolen digital assets successfully identified on the blockchain may be sold rapidly. On the other hand, the significant decline in crypto criminal balances seen here in February 2022 is the result of the DOJ seizing $3.6 billion in Bitcoin stolen in the 2016 Bitfinex hack. Following the seizure, criminal balances are now estimated to be about $5 billion as of February 9, 2022.
Darknet market sellers and administrators tend to keep their funds the longest before dumping them, whereas wallets containing stolen funds prefer to keep them the shortest.
So, how can stolen cash be maintained for such a short period of time yet account for the great bulk of crypto criminals’ balances? It turns out that the majority of those assets are from really big wallets that hold for a longer period of time than is common for others in the stolen fund’s category. But what truly strikes out is how much holding times have fallen across the board, with average holding periods in 2021 being at least 75% less than all-time records in all categories.
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