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2023 Cryptocurrency Crime Landscape: Decline in Illicit Activities and Emergence of Stablecoins on the Rise

In 2023, the cryptocurrency industry witnessed a substantial decline in the value flowing into illicit cryptocurrency addresses, marking a noteworthy shift in the landscape.

The total value received by these addresses experienced a significant drop, amounting to $24.2 billion.

This contrasts with the previous year’s estimate, where illicit transaction volume surged from $20.6 billion to $39.6 billion, primarily attributed to discovering previously unknown active addresses hosted by sanctioned services.

The insights are gleaned from the recently released Chainalysis report: 2024 Crypto Crime Trends.

Beyond the absolute reduction in the value of illicit activity, the proportion of all cryptocurrency transaction volumes linked to illicit endeavors also witnessed a decline. 

The share dwindled from 0.42% in 2022 to 0.34% in 2023, indicative of a decreasing footprint of illicit activities within the broader cryptocurrency space.

One noteworthy trend in cryptocurrency-based criminal activities is the changing preference for assets.

While Bitcoin historically was the preferred choice for cybercriminals due to its high liquidity, stablecoins have emerged as the new favorite for illicit transactions.

This shift aligns with the overall surge in stablecoins’ participation in all cryptocurrency activities, including legitimate transactions. 

However, Bitcoin maintains its prominence in specific forms of crypto crime, notably darknet market sales and ransomware extortion.

The findings underscore the dynamic nature of cryptocurrency-related crime, with cybercriminals adapting their preferences in response to market developments.

Source: thenational