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Stablecoins Overtake Bitcoin in Illicit Crypto Transactions

Stablecoins Overtake Bitcoin in Illicit Crypto Transactions

Key Takeaways

  • Stablecoins surpassed Bitcoin as the preferred currency for illegal cryptocurrency transactions in 2022 and 2023.
  • The increase in illicit stablecoin transactions aligns with their growing overall use, while traditional crimes like darknet sales still favor Bitcoin.
  • There's been a significant reduction in revenues from crypto hacks and scams, indicating improved blockchain security and changing crime patterns in the crypto space.

The landscape of cryptocurrency-based illegal transactions has shifted significantly, with stablecoins now taking the lead over Bitcoin in 2022 and 2023.

This trend is highlighted in a recent report by Chainalysis, a firm specializing in blockchain analytics, which marks a notable change in the preferences of cybercriminals.

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Between 2018 and 2021, Bitcoin was the primary currency for illicit activities in the crypto space. However, the report indicates a turning point in the last two years, where stablecoins have become predominantly used for illegal transactions.

This change coincides with the overall increase in stablecoin transactions in lawful and unlawful spheres. Despite this shift, certain criminal activities like darknet sales and ransomware schemes continue to rely heavily on Bitcoin.

The preference for stablecoins is particularly evident in scams and transactions involving entities under sanctions, which currently represent the largest portion of criminal transaction volume in the cryptocurrency world.

According to Chainalysis, in 2023, these types of activities accounted for $14.9 billion, which is 61.5% of the total illicit transaction volume they measured.

The report also underscores that a significant part of these transactions is linked to crypto services sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control but operates in regions where these sanctions are ineffective.

In a related development, CertiK, a blockchain security firm, reported a notable decrease in revenues from crypto hacks by over 51% in 2023, signaling a positive trend in blockchain security.

Chainalysis's report supports this observation, noting a 54.3% decline in revenues from crypto hacks and a 29.2% reduction in profits from crypto scams. This indicates a concurrent decrease in the transaction volume associated with illicit addresses, pointing to an evolving pattern in cryptocurrency-related crimes.

The shift from Bitcoin to stablecoins marks a new era in illicit crypto transactions, alongside a notable decline in crypto-related crimes and hack revenues in 2023.

Gile K., Market Sentiment Analyst
Gile is a Market Sentiment Analyst who understands what public events may form what emotions. Her experience researching Web3 news and public market messages – including cryptocurrency news reports, PRs, and social network streams – is critical to her role in helping lead the Crypto News Editorial Team.
As an intelligent professional in public relations, together with the team, she aims to determine real VS fake news patterns, and bring her findings to anyone searching for unbiased news and events happening in the FinTech markets. Her expertise is uncovering the latest trustworthy & informative Web3 announcements to the masses.
When she's not researching the trustworthiness of mainstream stories, she spends time enjoying her terrace view and taking meticulous care of her outdoor environment.

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