Chainalysis Report Notes That A Significant Number Of Crypto Whales Are Criminals

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  • The Chainalysis report reveals that about 3.7% of crypto whales are criminals. 
  • The majority of their income appears to come from the Darknet, as they have about $25 billion in total assets.
  • However, legal crypto adoption remains ahead of illicit use as law enforcement becomes more efficient. 

The Chainalysis 2022 crypto crime report reveals that criminals make up 3.7% of crypto whales. This comes as the blockchain analytics company notes that criminal activity has risen with the growth in the market over the past year.

Over $25 Billion Held By Criminal Whales

According to the new Chainalysis report, there are about 4,068 criminal whales, which make up 3.7% of all crypto whales. The report reveals that these criminals hold about $25 billion in crypto assets. The report read, “Chainalysis has identified 4,068 criminal whales holding over $25 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Criminal whales represent 3.7% of all cryptocurrency whales.”

Chainalysis in their report revealed their process for identifying these criminal whales. The firm noted that only private crypto addresses with holdings of over $1 million with over 10% of their holdings obtained from illicit sources were placed under this category. 

According to the report, 1,361 of these addresses received 90% to 100% of their holdings from known criminal addresses. A breakdown of the sources of funds received by criminal whales showed that the Darknet market was the primary source of funds with a share of 37.7%, followed by crypto scams with a share of 32.4%, while stolen funds, fraud shops, and ransomware attacks made up the rest. Ransomware attacks made up only 1.9%, the smallest source in the list. 

Using data obtained from 768 of these whales, Chainalysis was able to use timezones to try to give strong estimates of their longitudinal location. The firm estimates that most of the activities of these 768 criminal whales could have come from countries like South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

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Chainalysis also noted that illicit crypto transactions made up only 0.15% of crypto transactions in 2021. The company noted that “illicit activity’s share of cryptocurrency transaction volume has never been lower.” Chainalysis said this even though illicit crypto transactions were at their highest level in terms of volume. However, the firm admits that the sheer volume of these activities still remains a cause for concern and poses a threat to innocent individuals and the crypto space as regulations could become unfavorable.  

Law Enforcement Is Getting Better At Handling Crypto Crime

In the report, Chainalysis commended law enforcement for their efforts so far, noting their ability was “evolving.” The report cites examples of CFTC and FBI activities in 2021 to buttress the point. 

In their report, Chainalysis tries to give a breakdown of how these crypto crimes are carried out and the new methods that are thriving. It is their hope that law enforcement can use these findings to better combat crypto crime. 

It should be noted that just last week, a couple was arrested in New York on suspicion of money laundering and fraud. This was after the DOJ seized $3.6 billion worth of Bitcoin associated with a 2016 hack.