Chainalysis recently published a study on criminal enterprises, specifically the so-called criminal whales, that retain vast sums of money in the form of cryptocurrencies.
The study claimed that criminal whales still hold $25 billion in crypto assets despite substantial law enforcement seizures last year.
Cryptocurrency had a solid year in 2021, reaching a value of over $3 trillion in November, while bitcoin, which accounts for around a third of all cryptocurrency, also achieved a high until plummeting by more than 40% last week.
Criminals who stole bitcoin were among the biggest winners from rising prices, as the number of cryptocurrencies linked to illegal operations more than quadrupled since last year.
The Dark Web comes in second, providing $448 million in illegal cryptocurrency. Scams rank third with $192 million, Fraud Shops in fourth with $66 million, and Ransomware is at last row with $30 million.
Criminal Whales Swallow Big
According to the report, last year saw “a huge increase in criminal balances,” with criminal whales holding around $11 billion in 2021 compared to $3 billion in 2020.
Furthermore, the funds represent the lion’s share of crypto held by unscrupulous entities out of stolen funds, Ransomware, fraud and illegal trading.
Throughout the years, stolen funds have accounted for 93% of all criminal balances, according to latest figures. Criminal whales have obtained more than 10% of their funds through illegal addresses. They account for 3.7% of cryptocurrency whales.
Chainalysis is a popular blockchain surveillance company that publishes blockchain analytics research regularly.
Total crypto market cap at $1.711 trillion in the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com
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Illegal Crypto-Related Activities
Whales are the biggest hodlers, with wallets containing over $1 million in cryptocurrency.
Iranian hackers were the most significant contributors to ransomware activity globally through 2021, according to the 2022 Global Threat Report by the cyber security firm CrowdStrike.
Thefts soared by 516%, accounting for $3.2 billion in illegal transactions, with the DeFi sector becoming a new cause of concern.
“Criminal balances also fluctuated throughout the year, from a low of $6.6 billion in July to a high of $14.8 billion in October,” Chainalysis disclosed.
Hodling is a phrase used in the cryptocurrency industry to describe persons who keep vast amounts of cryptocurrency without selling them in the hopes of making a profit in the future.
On the Brighter Side
Meanwhile, in a memo to investors, FSInsight predicted that Bitcoin would reach $200,000 in the second part of 2022.
According to FSInsight, Ethereum might reach a price of $12,000 this year, representing a 385% premium to where it is now trading.
According to the analysis, cryptocurrencies have become increasingly linked to infotech stocks. Sean Farrell, head of digital asset strategy, said this is due to “legacy market money joining the fold.”
Featured image from Nairametrics, chart from TradingView.com