TRM Labs, a leading blockchain analytics firm focused on preventing cybercrime, has released a comprehensive report on illicit monies lost to bad actors in the crypto space in 2022.
The numbers are quite notable, especially given the drop in prices and market interest last year.
Enhanced cybersecurity measures
Despite the fall in value of various digital assets due to the crypto winter and the myriad of meltdowns that have accompanied it, the number of scams and thefts in the industry has not significantly decreased. , remaining at most proportional to similar cases in previous years.
For example, over $12 billion was lost to DeFi exploits in 2021. While this figure dwarfs the $3.7 billion lost to exploits in 2022, it should be noted that this $12 billion represent a sevenfold increase in DeFi exploits over the previous year, making 2022 an outlier. by any measure.
In 2022, $3.7 billion was stolen in more than 175 incidents, each resulting in a average loss $20 million for investors in operated projects. It should be noted that the smart contracts that were the main target of DeFi exploits in 2021 appear to have improved – only around 10% of cyberattacks in 2022 were protocol exploits, with the remaining 90% targeting the rest of the infrastructure of the platforms.
Investors still attracted to illicit platforms
Around $7.8 billion was lost to pyramid schemes and similar Ponzi schemes in 2022. If other scams – such as romance fraud and phishing attacks – are taken into account, the crypto community lost over $9 billion in 2022 alone.
Although pyramid scheme type frauds at least provided some kind of value to investors until they collapsed ignominiously, the rate of fraudulent investment platforms and tokens – often offering a simple chimera – doubled in 2022, to a total of $2.57 billion. crypto outright stolen from investors around the world.
Meanwhile, pyramid schemes made up the lion’s share of ill-bred gains, with an estimated $7.8 billion worth disappearing overnight once they were no longer able to recruit new brands. gullible.
The top 10 pyramid schemes accounted for 54% of the total catch. The biggest crashes in 2022 were Forsage and the Trade Coin Club, closely followed by Bitconnect.
About 40% of pyramid schemes in 2022 took place on the TRON network, mostly involving USDT. The report also discusses the sums involved in illicit markets, which, although highly illegal, only generated about $1.5 billion in revenue for bad actors, far less than the amount generated by outright fraud and simple.
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