New data from Chainalysis reveals that while money laundering schemes involving digital assets rose last year, they still comprise a tiny fraction of overall crypto transactions.
In a new report, the market analytics firm finds that while 5% of the global gross domestic product is laundered every year in fiat currency, just 0.05% of all crypto transactions involve money laundering.
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“Overall, cybercriminals have laundered over $33 billion worth of cryptocurrency since 2017, with most of the total over time moving to centralized exchanges.
For comparison, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime estimates that between $800 billion and $2 trillion of fiat currency is laundered each year – as much as 5% of global GDP. For comparison, money laundering accounted for just 0.05% of all cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2021.”
Chainalysis also finds that money laundering through crypto assets is heavily concentrated, with most of the funds moving from illicit wallets to a “surprisingly” small number of entities.
“A group of just 583 deposit addresses received 54% of all funds sent from illicit addresses in 2021. Each of those 583 addresses received at least $1 million from illicit addresses, and in total, they received just under $2.5 billion worth of cryptocurrency.
An even smaller group of 45 addresses received 24% of all funds sent from illicit addresses for a total of just under $1.1 billion. One deposit address received just over $200 million, all from wallets associated with the Finiko Ponzi scheme.”
The market intelligence firm says that the sector of the crypto market most affected by money laundering is decentralized finance (DeFi), which saw a 1,964% year-over-year increase in the total value of funds received from illicit addresses.
Chainalysis also finds that the overall amount of money laundered through cryptocurrencies in 2021 was $8.6 billion, a 30% increase from 2020.
You can read the full Chainalysis report here.
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