2018 was definitely the year of cryptocurrency thefts and cybercrimes. According to a report from CipherTrace, a US cyber security company, the thefts in 2018 increased by the staggering 400%, to the jaw-dropping amount of $1.7 billion.
Of the total $1.7 billion, $950 million come from cryptocurrency exchange thefts and wallets. The total amount of these thefts was around $265 million in 2017. The top two countries that “welcomed” the largest amount of cybercrime in the cryptocurrency space were Japan and Korea. More than 55% of the $1.7 billion came from these two countries.
While prices of most alt coins are dropping constantly, the amount of stolen cryptocurrencies is rising. In January 2019, the total market capitalization of all digital coins (more than 1,550) was around $112 billion. In 2018, this number was 80% higher.
The other portion of stolen cryptocurrencies is owing to shady ICOs and Ponzi schemes. The scams related to shady exits in 2017 amounted to just shy of $57 million. In 2018, however, the number has gone up to around $725 million.
The shocking part is that most of the stolen money is already laundered. The cybercriminals are interested in acting in jurisdictions with weak anti-money laundering and KYC procedures. According to the research by CipherTrace, some 97% of all the “shady” bitcoin pours into weakly or unregulated crypto exchanges.