Cybersecurity firm CipherTrace says crypto-related crime declined in 2020.
That said, the number of thefts, hacks and frauds in the DeFi sector has skyrocketed.
The overall reduction in crypto crime is likely due to better security policies within companies.
CipherTrace analyzed cryptocrime in 2020. The blockchain security firm said crime across the crypto industry has declined, while decentralized finance (DeFi) related crime has increased.
As crime looms over cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, we see a small glimmer at the end of the tunnel. According to security firm CipherTrace, theft, hacks and fraud declined in 2020 to $ 1.8 billion in losses. However, crime in the DeFi sector has increased.
The $ 1.8 billion figure is less than half of the $ 4.5 billion in crypto-crime in 2019. While it sounds huge, that $ 1.8 billion is only for the first ten months of year, and more crimes may come to light.
CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans said the exchanges and other crytpo companies have stepped up their security. The cause of this decline is not due to a lack of criminals. On the contrary, companies have heeded the word of security experts, Dave Jevans told Reuters .
Authorities recently turned to CipherTrace for security reasons. In September, the firm said it had created a way to track the transactions of Monero for the US government.
Besides fraud and theft, CipherTrace reported that dark web markets are growing.
The criminal environment of the dark web markets is extremely turbulent. Many dark web markets are opened every year and just as many of them are constantly disappearing, being seized or being faded in some way or another. Yet online black markets are more numerous than ever.
Crypto-crime splits into different branches
While the $ 1.8 billion represents cryptocurrency in general, the value of different industries and types of crime has fluctuated. For example, losses and thefts (excluding fraud) reached $ 468 million in losses in November. This is a 30% increase from the $ 361 million in 2019.
DeFi, always a hot topic, is playing an increasingly important role. About $ 98 million in losses and thefts come from DeFi platforms. DeFi exploded in 2020, with $ 12.6 billion in blocked loans, according to DeFi pulse. This figure is up from just $ 4 billion in August alone.
The most popular DeFi platforms work with open smart contracts, allowing anyone to verify the code and keep their funds safe. As these platforms are automated and “without the need for third parties”, users feel secure. However, according to CipherTrace, criminals take advantage of this provision.
CipherTrace believes that the rise in popularity of DeFi has drawn hackers to the industry. Many DeFi products have been shipped as a result without proper security verification, Jevans said. As a result, bad actors find weaknesses in the code or simply take advantage of naïve users.
Likewise, most DeFi protocols do not have a Customer Verification or Know Your Customer (KYC) process. Therefore, there is no regulatory compliance or oversight in the event of fraud. According to Jevans, this makes DeFi a “safe haven” for criminals.