Crypto crimes are raking in far less revenue this year due to a dry-up among hacks and scams, according to a mid-year report from Chainalysis, which tracks illicit wallet addresses.
Through the end of June, the industry’s total losses to illicit actors ranged near $2.5 billion and had fallen 65% relative to mid-2022, whereas legitimate actors were experiencing a “much less severe” drop in inflows during the sluggish bear market, Chainalysis said.
Scammers in particular are pulling in billions of dollars less this year. Chainalysis said two of the biggest operations – VidiLook and Chia Tai Tianqing Pharmaceutical Financial Management, both of which exit scammed investors to whom they promised lofty returns – disappeared. They haven’t been replaced in spite of bitcoin’s 83% rally year to date, a price surge that usually emboldens opportunistic schemers.
Impersonation scams are, however, bucking the trend: they’re duping nearly 50% more people this year than last. As a result, scammers who pose as authority figures are seeing only a 23% drop-off in overall inflows, whereas all other scams are down 70%.
Unfortunately, it’s not all bad news for the bad guys. Chainalysis said ransomware attackers are far outpacing their 2022 haul, with nearly $450 million extorted so far. Attackers are finding success across the board by infecting big and small organizations with targeted ransomware as well as less sophisticated “spray and pray” packages.