Cryptocurrency theft to top $1bn in 2018

Cryptocurrency theft is up dramatically on last year’s figures…

A newly released report is suggesting that the problem of cryptocurrency theft is growing, and at some speed.

The report in question comes from an American cyber-security firm by the name of CipherTrace. It examined for its Q3 anti-money laundering report the ecosystem of money laundering and assorted criminal activities in the world of cryptocurrencies, and came up with some rather eye-opening numbers.

The headline figure is that it estimates cryptocurrency theft soared to $927m in the first nine months of 2018, a figure that’s certain to blast past $1bn once the full annual total is tallied.

Furthermore, it reckons that the growth is spectacular too. The rise is some 250% on the number from last year, and in recent months, it’s lower value thefts – below the $60m level – that have been gaining pace. Last year’s entire number stood at $266m of thefts.

One other major takeaway that it cites: 97% of direct criminal Bitcoin payments are sent to unregulated exchanges, which in turn helps facilitate criminal activities.

The inevitable fuel behind the rise is the growing value of cryptocurrencies, notwithstanding the volatility that the market has gone through across 2018. The value of major coins is still up by some distance over the past 18 months. Furthermore, many governments around the world are still working out just how to regulate and manage cryptocurrencies.

Dave Jevas, the CEO of CipherTrace, admitted to Reuters that “the regulators are still a couple of years behind because there are only a few countries that have really applied strong anti-money laundering laws”. It seems that until they do, the criminals will continue to fill their boots as things stand.

You can find the full report, here.

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