In 2023, the total value of digital assets stolen by hackers and involved in illicit transactions was only $24.2 billion, down 39% from 2022.

~0.34% of Crypto Transactions Linked to Illegal Activities

The latest report from Chainalysis shows that the volume of illegal crypto transactions decreased considerably in 2023. Only 0.34% of all on-chain transactions with digital assets were of questionable nature.

In comparison, about 0.42% of crypto transactions involved fraud or illegal activities in 2022, and 1.29% in 2019. Analysts also observed a change in the types of assets used in crypto crimes. For example, about 60% of fraudulent transactions are in stablecoins for the second year in a row. 2023 saw an increased interest of cybercriminals in BTC, whose usage rate rose to 25% over the year. Meanwhile, the use of ETH in illicit activities dropped slightly.

Analysts revealed that cybercriminals prefer certain types of assets for different frauds and illegal transactions. Trading on the DarkNet and demanding ransom when using ransomware is almost 100% of the time carried out with BTC. Stablecoins are most actively used for transactions between platforms and entities under sanctions, as well as within scams. ETH is most often among the stolen assets during security incidents.

Cryptocurrencies were most actively used for money laundering in 2023 ($22.3 billion). There were 231 blockchain project security incidents resulting in the theft of approximately $1.7 billion in crypto. Assets worth about $1.1 billion were obtained by fraudsters through extortion programs.

According to the UN report, USDT on Tron is the most popular digital asset among representatives of the shadow economy of Southeast Asia. Tether strongly disagrees with this opinion. Circle abandoned support for its assets on the Tron network, citing the need to maintain the reliability, transparency, and security of USDC

Author: Ana Bustos García
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