Chainalysis finds 4% of crypto whales are linked to illicit funds

New data suggests that 3.7% of all crypto whales are tied to illicit funds and they possess $25bn of digital assets.

The report by Chainalysis has identified 4,068 cryptocurrency whales that hold illicit funds with each estimated to hold at least $1m worth of cryptocurrencies.

The report broke down the numbers further and accounted for how much of the funds that whales had acquired come from illicit sources.

For 1,374 of the addresses in the report, that number was anything between 10% and 25%. Another 1,361 wallets had acquired between 90% and 100% of their funds illicitly.

The two most common sources of illegal funds are the darknet (37.7%) and various crypto scams (32.4%).

Crypto scams have increased significantly over the past years. Whether it has to do with romance scams or complicated attacks on organizaitons, scams have been hitting the mark.

Stolen funds accounted for another 24.3% of the total funds along with ransomware only accounting for 1.9% of all illicit funds. Fraud shops brought up another 3.5%. Interestingly, in 2020, crypto scams fell by 50%.

Chainalysis has been able to pinpoint the biggest culprits by geographical region. Moscow and Saint Petersburg rank high along with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and South Africa.

In a previous report, Chainalysis talked about how criminals had been able to launder some $8.6bn of stolen funds. That is 30% more than 2020.

“It’s more difficult to measure how much fiat currency derived from off-line crime – traditional drug trafficking, for example – is converted into cryptocurrency to be laundered. However, we know anecdotally this is happening”, Chainalysis explained at the time.

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Updated: 02/21/2022 — 18:00