Elliptic analysts had predicted that the amount laundered through DEXs, bridges, and coin swaps would rise to $6.5 billion by the end of 2023 and $10.5 billion by 2025.
Blockchain analytics platform Elliptic has found through recent on-chain analysis that criminals, including the notorious North Korean hacking group Lazarus, have laundered approximately $7 billion of illicit cryptocurrencies through decentralized exchanges (DEXs), cross-chain bridges, and coin swap services.
According to a press release, the second edition of the State of Cross-chain Crime report revealed that sanctioned entities and terrorists now hold more than 80 crypto assets across over 26 blockchains.
$7B in Crypto Laundered Through DEXs
In the first and previous edition of The State of Cross-chain Crime report released in October 2022, Elliptic analysts had predicted that the amount laundered through DEXs, bridges, and coin swaps would rise to $6.5 billion by the end of 2023 and $10.5 billion by 2025. At the time, the amount of illicit assets laundered through these platforms was just over $4.1 billion.
However, the current figure has exceeded Elliptic’s estimate to hit $7 billion. The company discovered an additional $2.7 billion was laundered through cross-chain and cross-asset services between July 2022 and July 2023.
The Lazarus Group is the largest source of all illicit funds laundered through cross-chain bridges and the third largest for all cross-chain crime, being responsible for $900 million of the entire figure. The criminals now use more complex cross-chain methods like derivatives trading and limit orders to obscure their laundering activities.
Tom Robinson, co-founder and chief scientist at Elliptic, said:
“Over the past decade, Elliptic has helped to mitigate risk and bring transparency to blockchains by identifying and tracking illicit activities within the crypto ecosystem. Now, with the innovative insights from our Holistic blockchain analytics capabilities released last year, we’ve seen that cross-chain crime continues to grow, as bad actors continue to exploit services such as decentralized exchanges (DEXs), cross-chain bridges, and coin swap services.”
Bad Actors Persist Via Hacks and Scams
As the amount of crypto assets lingerie through DEXs, cross-chain bridges, and coin swaps continue to increase, bad actors have doubled down on the theft of tokens via hacks, exploits, and scams.
CryptoPotato reported that approximately $332 million was lost to hackers and scammers in September, with a single attack leading to roughly $200 million in losses.
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