Bad Actors are Using Cryptocurrencies as an Anonymous Payment Method for Collecting Ransom

It is common knowledge that cryptocurrencies have become a highly lucrative choice of payment for bad actors and scammers worldwide. The main reason for the popularity of cryptocurrencies among criminals is the ability to cash out their ransom collection anonymously. The underground crypto exchange website Hydra has become the largest dark web enterprise providing these services. 

A considerable amount of facilitators are listed on the website. The dark web is the part that is hidden from the usual search engines. Only hackers and online investigators visit the dark web with the help of special software. Tom Robison, the founder of the Elliptic, claims that these people leave out hard cash hidden in physical places for the converter to collect. Elliptic is a crypto transactions analytics enterprise.

Scammers to Run Scot-Free after Conducting Crypto-Related Crimes

Even the most powerful regulatory institutions like FTC claim that the best way to stop crypto scams is by prevention. The reason behind this approach is that once the crypto scammers have their funds, they have many easy ways to cash out their illicit bounty anonymously. One of these methods is called chain-hopping. When the bad actors jump rapidly from one blockchain to another, they ensure that it is impossible to trace their holdings back to their crime.

As noted by Elliptic, during 2011 and 2019, about 80 percent of stolen or illegal cryptocurrencies were being converted into real cash via major crypto exchange platforms. However, since 2020 these exchanges have become more careful about dealing in bad currencies, and they have introduced security protocols like anti-money laundering and know your customer. The AML and KYC protocols have reduced the black conversion rates to 45%.

Crypto Crime Prevention is a Better Solution for Intercepting Cybercrimes

In the course of the last few years, more cybersecurity companies are emerging to help the private institutions and government get safety against these practices. The NYC-based Chainalysis, London-based Elliptic, and US government-supported CipherTree are some examples. Recently the US Department of Justice arrested and tried a Swedish-Russian national who was running a massive crypto mixing operation underground.

Crypto mixing is a phenomenon where the bad actors made it impossible for law enforcement agencies to find traces of a crime syndicate by mixing authentic money with unclean crypto funds. Katherine Kirkpatrick, an anti-money laundering expert from King & Spalding, claims that it is possible to undo mixing, but it would require a lot of hash power and data storage capacity.

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