Cryptocurrency crime losses more than double to $4.5 billion in 2019, report finds

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Losses from cryptocurrency crime surged to $4.52 billion last year, as insider theft soared even as hacking losses declined, according to a report from blockchain forensics company CipherTrace seen by Reuters.

Last year’s losses were up nearly 160% from 2018’s total of $1.74 billion.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system powering bitcoin, is a shared database maintained by a network of computers.

Cryptocurrency user and investor losses due to fraud and misappropriation in 2019 increased by more than five times, while hacks and thefts fell by 66%, the report showed.

“We noticed a significant uptick in malicious insiders scamming unsuspecting victims or leaching on their users through Ponzi schemes,” Dave Jevans, CipherTrace chief executive officer, told Reuters. “Attacks from the inside of organizations lead to significant exits with major consequence to the crypto-ecosystem.”

CipherTrace research found that banks globally paid more than $6.2 billion in AML fines in 2019.

 

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