Over $1.4B in digital currency laundered via exchanges in H1 2020

More than $1.4 billion has been laundered in the first half of 2020 via digital currency exchanges, a new report from the blockchain analytics firm PeckShield has revealed.

“In the past 6 months, a total of 13,927 high-risk transactions have flowed into digital asset exchanges,” the report reads. “The assets, totaling 147,000 BTC, are equivalent to more than $1.4 billion at current prices. We ranked the exchanges with the largest amount of stolen money. The top ten exchanges were: Huobi, Binance, OKEx, ZB, Gate.io, BitMEX, Luno, HaoBTC, Bithumb, and Coinbase.”

PeckShield considers a “high-risk transaction” any transaction that originates from a wallet address that is known to be associated with the darknet or a digital currency hack. It also ranked the digital currency exchanges that the high-risk transactions were liquidated through. Interestingly, the analytics firm found that well-known digital currency exchanges with KYC and AML procedures in place—such as Huobi, Binance, and even Coinbase—were the digital currency exchanges that the most money was laundered through. 

The flow of stolen money into digital currency exchanges in the first 6 months of 2020 (Source: PeckShield)

Over 2 billion stolen 

PeckShield’s research also revealed that in the first six months of 2020, there has been “101 hacker attacks, with a total of $2.591 billion in stolen money, of which at least $14.82 million has flowed into the exchanges.”

Beyond that, analytics firm discovered that $1.62 billion flowed into blacklisted addresses and $1.59 billion was sent to digital currency mixers.

Is digital currency crime on the rise?
Peckshield’s research supports a recent report from Crystal Blockchain that indicates the use of digital currency mixers is on the rise. The PeckShield report was also released just a few days before Twitter was compromised by a hacker to promote a digital currency scam that reached tens of millions of Twitter users. By the looks of it, digital currency-related cyber-crime is on the rise and the cyber-criminals are laundering the money in plain sight.

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