Cryptocurrency owners lost a total of $11.5 billion in assets in 2022 due to the activities of hackers and scammers, analysts found TRM Labs. Despite the collapse in cryptocurrency prices, the volume of related dollar crime has not changed significantly since 2021. Cyber criminals are using bitcoin less and less.
In 2022, at least $7.8 billion in cryptocurrencies was invested in pyramid schemes and $3.7 billion was stolen. The amount spent on illegal substances on the dark web was $1.5 billion. Approximately $2 billion was stolen through attacks on network bridges – services that allow funds to be transferred from one blockchain to another. Cyber criminals are increasingly choosing this attack pattern to make it difficult to trace asset movements.
Bitcoin’s popularity among hackers and scammers has declined significantly: while the largest cryptocurrency was responsible for two-thirds of thefts in 2016, by 2022 Bitcoin was only responsible for 3% of these activities. The Ethereum (68%) and Binance Smart Chain (19%) blockchains have been growing in popularity among cybercriminals.
Bitcoin is also losing relevance in another criminal environment: in 2016, it was the only cryptocurrency used to finance terrorism. And in 2022, the TRON blockchain will be used for this purpose – the share of assets built on this network has reached 92%. The network’s popularity is due to its low fees – for the same reason, it is where most of the USDT stablecoin’s sales occur.
In May 2023, cybercriminals stole $71 million worth of cryptocurrencies. And in June, the biggest hack this year took place – more than $100 million was stolen from users of the crypto wallet Atomic Wallet.