LONDON: Cryptocurrency-based crime hit a record high in 2021 as overall legal payments also reached an all-time peak, data group Chainalysis revealed on Thursday (Jan 6).Criminal transactions, involving bitcoin and its peers, totalled US$14 billion, up 79 per cent from 2020, according to the group's analysis.Total cryptocurrency payments meanwhile rocketed 567 per cent to US$15.8 trillion year-on-year, Chainalysis said, as the sector won some strong support from traditional finance."Given that roaring adoption, it's no surprise that more cybercriminals are using cryptocurrency," the group concluded."In fact, with the growth of legitimate cryptocurrency usage far outpacing the growth of criminal usage, illicit activity's share of cryptocurrency transaction volume has never been lower."Illicit transactions amounted to 0.15 per cent of the total.Despite the lower percentage, "criminal abuse of cryptocurrency creates huge impediments for continued adoption, heightens the likelihood of restrictions being imposed by governments, and worst of all victimises innocent people around the world", the report stressed.Growth in scams was 82 per cent last year, according to Chainalysis."Rug pulls" played a sizeable part, it noted.
This is when investments, notably in newer cryptocurrencies, suddenly disappear.This was the case last year with "Squid coin", inspired by Netflix hit "Squid Game".The creators of Squid coin disappeared from social media and so did investors' profits, mirroring other cryptocurrency scams."One promising development in the fight against cryptocurrency-related crime is the growing ability of law enforcement to seize illicitly obtained cryptocurrency," Chainalysis said.At the same time, illicit addresses