Cryptocurrency Crime Sees Decrease in 2023, Ransomware on the Rise


A Chainalysis report released in mid-2023 has revealed a significant downturn in cryptocurrency-enabled crimes in nearly every category. Scams, one of the most prominent of these crimes, have seen the biggest dip. In the first half of the year, wallets associated with scammers have received approximately $1 billion – a $3.3 billion decrease from the $4.3 billion they obtained in the first half of 2022.

Hacks, cybercriminal administrators, darknet markets, fraud shops, and child abuse material have also seen revenue drops. Kim Grauer, director of research for the firm, believes the numbers can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as a heightened focus from law enforcement and regulators, the use of advanced technologies, and greater awareness of the risks surrounding cryptocurrency.

However, the one exception to this trend is ransomware. Wallets linked to ransomware operators have seen an influx of nearly $450 million in the first six months of 2023, putting it on track for its second-largest ever annual haul. This suggests that the cost ceiling for ransomware is continuing to rise.

Representative Elissa Slotkin from Michigan commented that many people associate cryptocurrency exclusively with crime and criminality. Still, she noted that blockchain technology has potential applications that remain largely untapped.

Overall, the Chainalysis report indicates a trend in the cryptocurrency space: increased awareness of the risks of investing in cryptocurrency has caused a decrease in criminal revenue. However, ransomware remains an outlier, as seen by its steady increase in revenue.

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