Study finds $4bn illicitly laundered through DeFi exchanges


Cryptoasset risk management firm Elliptic has found that criminals have used DeFi exchanges amongst other things to launder more than $4bn in crypto.

According to FinTech Finance, criminals have used DeFi exchanges, cross-chain bridges and ‘coin swap’ services to launder the money.

Some of the most prolific criminals involved in this were hackers, illicit virtual asset services, ponzi schemes, ransomware providers and dark web markets.

FinTech Finance remarked that these findings highlight the rise of the ‘cross-chain problem’ which is an issue identified by Elliptic that is prevalent across the crypto space in posing a key risk for virtual asset services and criminal investigators.

Some of the main findings of the report – titled The State of Cross-chain Crime: Countering the New Age of Crypto Crime and Money Laundering in a Cross-chain World – include the fact that some $1.2bn of stolen crypto from DeFi or exchange thefts have been swapped using DEXs, which is over a third of all crypto stolen from the incidents surveyed.

In addition, the report found that $1.2bn in illicit assets have been laundered using ‘coin swap’ services, which allows users to swap assets both within and across blockchains without opening an account.

It was also found that there is a growing risk of cross-chain and cross-asset obfuscation from sanctioned, seized and terrorist entities. Wallets connected to groups eventually sanctioned by the United States – including those used by North Korea to perpetrate multi-million-dollar cyberattacks – have laundered more than $1.8 billion through such techniques.

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