Chainalysis, the on-chain analysis platform, has released the chapter of the Crypto Crime Report dedicated to money laundering. From what emerged, it appears that in 2023 criminals laundered $22.3 billion, almost 30% less than in 2022.

Chainalysis and Crypto Crime Report: Money Laundering Was $22.3 Billion in 2023

Chainalysis published the chapter on money laundering of his Crypto Crime Report 2023.

From what has emerged, it seems that last year 22.3 billion dollars were laundered, almost -30% less than in 2022.

The blockchain platform highlights that this declining trend can be attributed in part to the overall decrease in the volume of crypto transactions, both legitimate and illicit.

The fact is, however, that the decline in money laundering activities has been more pronounced. This is a -29.5% of money laundering transactions, compared to a 14.9% decline in total transaction volume.

Additionally, Chainalysis states that overall, Centralized crypto exchanges remain the top destination for funds sent from illicit addresses at 62%.

Of change, however, it seems the share of illicit funds allocated to protocols is also growing DeFiwhich rose to 13% in 2023.

Money Laundering Chainalysis: Crypto Criminals Diversify Their Business

Beyond diversify money laundering activity on multiple services, so as to hide it better, Crypto criminals appear to be using new tactics as well.

And in fact, the Chainalysis report highlights that overall crypto criminals they distribute the activity across multiple addresses belonging to intermediaries or wallets or, again, fiat off-ramping services (such as centralized crypto-exchanges).

This happens because with centralized crypto services, companies like Tether (USDT) or Circle (USDC) or CEXs can intervene directly and freeze the funds. On the other hand, with DeFi protocols, criminal activities can be traced and law enforcement can intervene directly.

Not only, Crypto criminals are also changing their tactics and strategiesusing more for money laundering also i bridge e i mixer.

For example, well-known North Korean cybercriminals associated with hacker gangs such as Lazarus Group, tend to use a greater variety of crypto services and protocols.

It is no coincidence that, overall, bridge protocols received $743.8 million in cryptocurrency from illicit addresses in 2023compared to $312.2 million in 2022.

With regard to the use of the mixer, it seems that after Tornado Cash, hackers affiliated with North Korea have preferred the Sinbad mixer in 2022, while in 2023, YoMix emerged. Overall, YoMix has seen tremendous growth in 2023, with an increase in inflows of more than 5 times over the course of the year.

The explosive growth of “Approval Phishing”

The preview of the Chainalysis Report, published in December 2023, highlights the explosive growth of Approval Phishing.

Only in 2023in fact, it seems that they were 374.6 million dollars stolen through this crypto scam techniquepart of the “romance scams”.

And in fact, with approval phishing, scammers they trick the user into signing a malicious blockchain transaction.

This signature of the victim user gives the scammer’s address approval to spend specific tokens within his wallet, allowing him to empty the victim’s address of those tokens at his leisure.

The strong growth in approval phishing may be due to the rise of decentralized applications (dApps) that require approval signaturesto authorize smart contracts.


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