• Monday, April 15, 2024
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Illegal crypto transactions dropped by $15bn in 2023 — Report

Cryptocurrency

Illicit cryptocurrency activities dropped by $15.4 billion in 2023 to $24.2 billion in 2023, Chainalysis has disclosed.

In a report titled, ‘Money Laundering Activity Spread Across More Service Deposit Addresses in 2023, Plus New Tactics from Lazarus Group,’ the blockchain analytics firm revealed that total illicit transactions amounted to $39.6 billion in 2022.

In 2023, online crypto platforms were increasingly used for illicit transactions, including money laundering. The firm noted that the amount laundered through crypto totalled $22.2 billion.

While this is a 29 percent decline from the $31.5 billion recorded in 2022, the firm attributed the overall decrease in money laundering to a reduction in crypto transaction volume.

“Chainalysis attributed the overall decrease in money laundering to the reduction in crypto transaction volume, both legitimate and illicit. However, the drop in money laundering activity was steeper, at 29.5 per cent, compared to the 14.9 per cent drop in total transaction volume,” it highlighted.

Chainalysis categorised illicit transactions into two: those sent to addresses linked to known illegal activities and those stolen through cryptocurrency hacks.

“2023 mostly resembled 2022 in terms of the breakdown of service types used for money laundering. Over time, the role of illicit services has shrunk, while the share of illicit funds going to DeFi protocols has grown and an increase in funds moving to gambling services and bridge protocols,” Chainalysis said.

Read also: The rise in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in developing economies

The blockchain firm noted that more addresses, 109 to be exact, received high amounts ($10 million) of illicit crypto in 2023. Only 40 addresses received over $10 million in illegal crypto in 2022.

It added, “In 2022, just 542 deposit addresses received over $1 million in illicit cryptocurrency, for a total of $6.3 billion, which was over half of all illicit value received by centralised exchanges that year. In 2023, 1,425 deposit addresses received over $1 million in illicit cryptocurrency, for a total of $6.7 billion, which accounts for just 46 percent of all illicit value received by exchanges for the year.”

The firm attributed this to a change in the modus operandi of crypto criminals who might be “diversifying their money laundering activity across more nested services or deposit addresses in order to better conceal it from law enforcement and exchange compliance teams.”