Cryptocurrency-based thieves and cybercriminals squeezed a staggering $ 7.7 billion in cryptocurrency from victims in 2021, marking an 81% increase in losses since 2020, according to the latest figures released by the company. Chainalysis Blockchain Analysis. Of those $ 7.7 billion in losses, about $ 1.1 billion were attributed to a single system that allegedly targeted Russia and Ukraine, according to the company. “As the most significant form of cryptocurrency-based crime targeting only new users, scams are one of the biggest threats to continued cryptocurrency adoption,” Chainalysis reported.
At the same time, the amount of deposits to fraudulent addresses has risen from just under 10.7 million to 4.1 million, which could mean that there are fewer individual victims of scams, but that they “lose more.” In 2021, losses in cryptocurrencies were mainly due to “carpet pulls” – that is, cases in which the developers of a new cryptocurrency disappear taking the funds of supporters. Carpet jumpers accounted for 37% of all cryptocurrency scam revenue this year, totaling $ 2.8 billion, down from just 1% in 2020.
“Carpet sweaters are prevalent in DeFi because with the right technical knowledge, it’s cheap and easy to create new tokens on the Ethereum or other blockchain and get them listed on decentralized exchanges (DEX) without code auditing,” warns the report. The characteristics of investment scam networks are changing. Chainaylsis finds that the number of active financial scams has increased from 2,052 in 2020 to 3,300, while their lifespan has decreased from more than 500 days in 2016 to 291 days in 2020, and just 70 days in 2021.
The importance of a hardened code audit
“Previously, these scams could continue to operate for longer. As criminals become aware of these actions, they may feel more pressure to go out of business before attracting the attention of regulators and law enforcement, ”say the Chainalysis researchers. Unsurprisingly, scams are also increasing with the rise in value of popular cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, although that link may have been broken in the past year.
“The most important thing to remember is to avoid new tokens that have not been audited by code. Code audits are a process whereby a third-party company analyzes the smart contract code behind a new token or other Fi project, and publicly confirms that the contract’s governance rules are robust and do not contain any mechanism that allows the developers get away with the investor. money. “
He added: “Investors may also be wary of tokens that do not have the public documents expected of a legitimate project, such as a website or white paper, as well as tokens created by people who do not use their real name.”
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