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The dark side of the crypto-industry appears to be on the rise, as revealed in a report recently released by a digital-asset intelligence firm, CipherTrace.

The value of funds stolen through crypto-related crimes over the first five months in 2020, stood at $1.4 billion, thereby making this year one with the ugliest incidences of crypto-related crimes recorded in the crypto industry.

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How Crypto-Criminals are taking advantage: Crypto-Criminals appear to take advantage of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to hit at unsuspecting victims by deceiving them with different methods of crypto-related crimes such as ransomware darknet marketplace fraud, and phishing campaigns.

John Jefferies, the chief financial analyst, and marketing officer at CipherTrace, stated in detail that the largest contributor to crypto crime in 2020 has been Wotoken’s alleged billion-dollar Ponzi scheme that emerged from China. He said:

“Retail investors should be wary of any company that uses hyperbolic statements and promises of extraordinary returns to lure them into participating.  

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“If WoToken had been required by regulatory agencies to provide detailed investment prospectus and audited financial statements, they wouldn’t have been able to launch their scheme and fool more than 700,000 victims.  

“Many VASPs have dramatically improved their security posture, making it harder for hackers to steal from the platforms themselves.” 

(READ MORE: U.S regulator invites Banking and Crypto industry leaders for partnership)

Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

The co-founder and chief information officer of CoinFirm, a blockchain analytics company, Pawel Aleksander, told Cointelegraph that the volume of crypto crimes within Q1 2020 seems closer to the $2 billion mark, highlighting:

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“Knowing the amounts related to the various frauds happening as a whole has its importance but the most important aspect is addressing how to solve them and providing entities with the tools and solutions to do so.” 

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Pawel Aleksander stated that despite efforts by social media companies to clamp down and limit fraudulent schemes, there are still many challenges facing the crypto world in tackling the menace successfully.

“This can happen by achieving synergy between AML, fraud investigations, and an open data ecosystem that takes the security of crypto financial markets to a level never seen before or even thought possible in traditional finance.” 

(READ MORE:Bitcoin loses $1500 in 3 mins, pigs get slaughtered in BTC market)

Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

Crypto-Criminals on a rampage, capitalizing on COVID-19 Pandemic

John Jefferies, the chief financial analyst, and marketing officer at CipherTrace explained why the surge of criminal activities is on the rise in the crypto space, as criminals use certain advantages crypto-assets offer. He said:

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“Even in spite of the growing availability of privacy coins like Monero and Zcash, criminals continue to use Bitcoin because of the abundance of Bitcoin-to-fiat off-ramps. Banks and money service businesses should pay attention to high-risk transactions originating from BATMs that lack proper AML compliance.” 

“The reality is that criminal use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is very low; less than 0.2% of the funds accepted by exchanges are directly from criminal sources,” John Jefferies added.

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