The current cryptocurrency crisis may have unexpected effects. According to a study by Chainalysis, published on August 16, the fall in cryptocurrencies has led to a drop in revenue generated by cybercrime around the world. While the cryptocurrency crisis alone does not explain the phenomenon, it has nevertheless contributed to drying up the finances of online criminals.
It must be said that, since the beginning of the year, the prices of the main cryptos have fallen by sometimes more than 50%, and the number of businesses that have closed has only increased. In a panic, potential buyers are abandoning cryptocurrencies – even cybercriminals. Indeed, according to Chainalysis, for the first time since 2019, the use of cryptocurrencies has dropped dramatically, whether for legal or illicit transactions. However, criminal activity is less influenced by falling prices than legitimate activities. The volume of transactions resulting from cryptocrime thus fell by 15% in the first half, compared to 36% for the volume of traditional transactions.
Easy prey are less susceptible to cryptocurrency-based scams
If criminals' earnings are down, it's because falling cryptocurrency prices tend to reduce the credibility of scammers, according to Chainalysis: “The decline in scammers' earnings is partly due to fewer potential victims taken in by scams. Indeed, the fall in asset prices makes the promises of large returns less credible.” In addition, the report notes that newbie investors, historically more naive, are less present in times of crisis… And therefore less likely to be taken in by scammers.
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In its study, Chainalysis notes that large cryptocurrency-based scams generally collect a large share of illicit transactions. She cites PlusToken, one of the biggest scams in the ecosystem with $2 billion stolen, which took place in 2019, as well as Finiko, which made it possible to extract $1.5 billion in 2021.
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As a result of the fall of cryptocurrencies, in 2022, the amounts stolen by major online scam campaigns are down sharply. The highest amount was reached by the JuicyFields scam, with $273 million, followed by Unique-Exchange, which brewed $267 million