Cryptocurrency thieves make off with record $14 billion

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Cryptocurrency-based crime hit a record high last year, with criminals pocketing $14 billion worth of bitcoin, ethereum and other digital currencies from scams, ransomware and thefts.

The figure, reported by Chainalysis, a data group, is almost double the $7.8 billion worth of crypto funds that were deposited into accounts with known criminal associations in 2020.

In its latest Crypto Crime Report, Chainalysis said that “$14 billion worth of illicit activity represents a significant problem”.

It added that such “criminal abuse” increases the likelihood of restrictions being imposed by governments on the use of cryptocurrencies, and “worst of all, victimises innocent people around the world”.

Scammers stole $7.8 billion of cryptocurrency last year, Chainalysis found — a year-on-year increase of 82 per cent. About