Report Attributes Large Share of Global Crypto Crime to Russia – The rising popularity of cryptocurrencies have pushed Russia to the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption.
According to a new analysis by Chainalysis, while the country has yet to reach the top of the chart, it already has a “disproportionate share” of worldwide activity related to specific forms of cryptocurrency crime.
Individuals and organizations based in Russia, which ranks in the top 20 of Chainalysis’ Global Crypto Adoption Index, can be linked to $400 million in crypto-denominated ransomware earnings in 2021, according to the blockchain analytics firm.
Chainalysis elaborated in a preview of their Crypto Crime Report for 2022:
In 2021, about 74 percent of ransomware earnings – more than $400 million in cryptocurrencies went to strains that are extremely likely to be linked to Russia in some way.
The majority of extorted funds are laundered through platforms focused on the Russian crypto market, according to the US-based firm, which also cites online traffic data.
A third of the money transmitted from ransomware addresses to service providers went to users in Russia, according to estimates. The authors point out that these crypto laundering activities outnumber those in other regions.
According to Chainalysis, the Russian capital’s financial area, Moscow City, is home to dozens of bitcoin enterprises that facilitate the laundering of criminal cash. Several of them are suspected of processing a large number of transactions coming from criminal addresses.
Suex, a cryptocurrency dealer, was banned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in September of last year. The platform, which also has offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg, is alleged of processing hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency transactions involving frauds, darknet markets, ransomware attacks, and the infamous BTC-e exchange.
According to Chainalysis, these businesses received approximately $700 million in cryptocurrencies via illegitimate addresses throughout the course of the study’s three-year period. That’s 13% of all crypto funds moved to these platforms, with a total volume of about $1.2 billion in Q2 2021.
Scams and darknet markets, according to the analysis, account for the majority of the illicit cryptocurrencies moved to organizations based in Moscow City between 2019 and 2021, with $313 million and $296 million, respectively. With $38 million, ransomware is in third position.
Report Attributes Large Share of Global Crypto Crime to Russia – The figures were released after Russian law enforcement recently took action against cryptocurrency-related criminality. On a request from the United States, the Federal Security Service (FSB) cracked the Revil ransomware organization in January, arresting 14 of its members in a joint operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Russia has also blacklisted four large dark web sites with an estimated $263 million in crypto sales, according to a study undertaken by another blockchain analytics firm, Elliptic, last week.
While officials strive to regulate the growing Russian crypto industry, the interior ministry has requested the arrest of six additional hackers accused of “illegal circulation of means of payment.”