Losses caused by crimes related to cryptocurrencies increased to USD 4.52 billion in 2019, while internal information theft skyrocketed, even when losses from hacking decreased, according to a report by the forensic company CipherTrace.
The losses recorded in 2019 represent an increase of almost 160% over the total losses recorded in 2018, which was USD 1.74 billion.
The blockchain, which first appeared as the system that boosted bitcoin, is a shared database maintained by a computer network.
Losses to cryptocurrency users and investors due to fraud or embezzlement increased more than five times in 2019, while piracy and theft decreased by 60%, the report shows.
"We notice a significant increase in internal malicious users, who maliciously scam off unsuspecting victims, or lead them into ponzi schemes," said CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans. "Attacks from within organizations lead to significant exits with a greater consequence in the cryptocurrency ecosystem," said Jevans.
Since the launch of bitcoin, more than ten years ago, governments and regulators around the world have struggled with opacity and lack of transparency in the cryptocurrency market, which has caused massive losses for investors.
According to CipherTrace, two major losses at the beginning of last year were the main causes of the increase. First, users and customers lost approximately USD 3 billion due to an alleged ponzi scheme that involved the cryptocurrency portfolio and exchange, PlusToken.
The other significant loss was the nearly USD 135 million lost by customers of the Canadian exchange house QuadrigaCX after the unexpected death of its co-founder, according to CipherTrace.
The CipherTrace report also found that cryptocurrency illicit business services, including exchange houses, have sent funds to the payment network of almost all the top 10 banks in the United States.
The analyzes also revealed that a large bank in the United States typically processes billions of dollars annually in transfers related to cryptocurrencies, which are undetectable.
"These clandestine operations create risks of compliance with anti-money laundering laws because criminals must find ways to launder the ill-earned profits of cryptocurrencies," CipherTrace says in the report.
CipherTrace's investigation found that banks worldwide paid more than USD 6.2 billion in anti-money laundering fines in 2019.
Posted via Steemleo