With only five months gone, a new report has revealed that the cryptocurrency industry has lost more than a billion dollars worth of crypto assets to fraudsters and hackers so far this year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
CipherTrace, a crypto intelligence company that has been tracking cryptocurrency crimes, noted in its report that cryptocurrencies worth about $1.4 billion were lost to thefts, hacks, and frauds from January to May 2020.
According to the company, the proportion of losses traced to Coronavirus fraud within the stated period was minimal, but CipherTrace did not give an actual figure for this. However, they see this year’s crypto crime turn out to be the second-largest so far. Last year’s crypto crimes were rated the largest, with losses amounting to $4.5 billion.
The chief executive officer of CipherTrace, Dave Jevans, noted that the adoption of crypto assets has significantly soared over the years, hence digital currencies have become an attraction to bad actors.
“Consumers, investors, and users continue to adopt cryptocurrency at a massive rate, and it is by far the fastest-growing payment system on the planet. At one trillion dollars in annual payments, cryptocurrency payments have grown from zero to 7% in 10 years, making this volume of funds attractive to bad actors,” Jevans said.
Chinese Wotoken Ponzis scheme stole $1b
Per the report, a bulk of the total loss this year comes from the $1 billion Ponzi scheme by Wotoken in China, which came out as a criminal trial last month.
Having allegedly scammed more than 700,000 users, the media described Wotoken Ponzi scheme as the latest version of the Chinese Plus Token scam.
Like the Wotoken scam, PlusToken also contributed massively to the total value of crypto assets lost in 2019. As Coinfomania reported at that time, the scheme siphoned a whopping $2.9 billion worth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from its victims.
Crypto criminals impersonating popular figures
Aside from the use of Ponzi schemes, the report further revealed that most of the crypto crimes happen through deceitful chat rooms where people are required to pay money in Bitcoin. Also, the impersonation of legitimate entities to deceive people to let out their assets eventually was another fraudulent style the criminals have been using.
Coinfomania has reported many such forms of impersonating crimes with the most recent one stealing $1,000 worth of BTC in a fake Bitcoin giveaway scam that impersonated Chamath Palihapitiya, the chief executive of Social Capital and a billionaire investor.
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