Some of the biggest cryptocurrency HODLers are also crypto criminals, finds Chainalysis report

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Some of the biggest cryptocurrency HODLers are also crypto criminals, finds Chainalysis report
Representative image BI India
  • More than 4,000 of the biggest cryptocurrency accounts have gotten their tokens through illicit means.
  • A new report by Chainalysis shows that these illicit holdings combined amount to around $25 billion.
  • Crypto criminals now account for 3.7% of all crypto whales in the world.
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Cryptocurrency thieves are now among the biggest token holders in the world. According to a new report from the blockchain analysis firmChainalysis, crypto criminals now account for 3.7% of all crypto whales — those with more than $1 million worth ofcryptocurrencies.

It’s a tale as old as time. Criminal activity continues to go unchecked, grows to a point where it is beyond control, and is eventually legitimised. And, the web3 ecosystem seems to be on the same track.

Chainalysis has found that crypto whales are cumulatively holding over $25 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in their wallets.

Who are these crypto criminal whales?


Data shows that there are around 4,068 crypto criminal whales in the world right now. These are accounts, which not only have more than $1 million in their wallets, but also those who have over 10% of their funds coming from illicit wallet addresses — those tied to frauds and scams.

Percentage of crypto holdings from illicit addresses Number of crypto whales
10-25% 1,374
25-50% 846
50-70% 296
75-90% 191
90-100% 1,361
Date source: Chainalysis

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Most of the illicit gains, specifically among criminal crypto whale accounts, come either from a scam or the darknet market.
Some of the biggest cryptocurrency HODLers are also crypto criminals, finds Chainalysis report
Over one-third of illicit gains of criminal whales are from darknet markets. Chainalysis

Whereas, overall criminal balances are dominated by stolen funds. At the end of 2021, stolen funds accounted for 93% of all criminal balances with darknet market funds clocking in second at $448 million.
Some of the biggest cryptocurrency HODLers are also crypto criminals, finds Chainalysis report
At the end of 2021, criminals held $11 billion worth of funds with known illicit sources Chainalysis

However, when it comes to holding onto these gains, the darknet market leads the charts followed by fraud shops. Accounts with stolen funds are the earliest to liquidate their holdings.

总的来说,虽然可能在非法加密收益rise, the average holding times are at least 75% shorter as compared to their all-time figures across all categories.
Some of the biggest cryptocurrency HODLers are also crypto criminals, finds Chainalysis report
Funds illicitly gained from darknet markets have the highest holding average Chainalysis

Crypto crimes on the rise


The fact that crypto crimes have been on the rise has been a hot topic since last year, when the crypto hype reached its peak.

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And, Chainalysis isn’t the only company who look notice. DeFi hacks, through which criminals syphon off funds from decentralised finance platforms, have notably grown over the past year, almost at the same pace as the crypto industry itself. Earlier this month,hackers stolea whopping $322 million in crypto from the Wormhole token bridge, in what is the largest DeFi hack of 2022 so far.

Then there are NFT rug pulls, where criminals create hype around an NFT project on social media, messaging platforms like Discord, and more in order to hike the price of their tokens. They then abandon the project once users have put their money into it, bringing the token’s price down to zero and making away with the cryptocurrencies.

That said, authorities are catching up slowly but surely. On February 8, the US Department of Justicearrestedtwo individuals in Manhattan for an alleged conspiracy to launder cryptocurrency that was stolen from the Bitfinex crypto exchange hack back in 2016. The DoJ said that it had seized over $3.6 billion in cryptocurrency from the hack so far.

In a first, tax authorities in the UKnabbeda bunch of NFTs as part of a fraud case. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customers (HMRC) arrested three individuals who were accused of conducting a $2 million NFTs scam, and the authorities sized three NFTs worth £5000.

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