Crypto crime in 2021 hits all-time high

Blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis reports that cryptocurrency-linked crime surged to a record high last year in terms of value.

According to Chainalysis, illegal addresses received $14 billion in digital currencies.

That is up 79% from $7.8 billion in 2020.

Today, illicit addresses already hold over $10 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, according to Chainalysis.

Illicit addresses are defined as wallets tied to criminal activities such as ransomware, Ponzi schemes and scams.

Total transaction volume surged to $15.8 trillion last year, up more than 550% from 2020 levels.

In its last crypto crime report, Chainalysis had said that 0.34% of 2020’s crypto transactions was associated with illegal activity.

That number has now been raised to 0.62%.

Chainalysis also said the rise in decentralized finance, or DeFi, has lent crypto crime a hand.

In 2020, less than $162 million worth of cryptocurrency was stolen from DeFi platforms, which was 31% of the year’s total amount stolen.

That represented a 335% increase over the total stolen from DeFi platforms in 2019.

In 2021, that figure rose another 1,330% to $2.3 billion, Chainalysis said.

DeFi transaction volume surged 912% in 2021, and Chainalysis said outsized gains on decentralized tokens like Shiba Inu have pushed investors to speculate on DeFi tokens.