The Curious Case of Crypto Crime: Unraveling the Mystery of What’s Happening with Cryptocurrency!

A recent report from blockchain analytics company Chainalysis revealed that illicit crypto activity hit an all-time high in 2021, largely due to sanctions violations. The report estimated that there were roughly $20 billion worth of illicit crypto transactions in 2021 and warned that this is a lower bound estimate. The authors noted that as more data becomes available on-chain, more illicit transactions may be detected. The report also covered ransomware, which saw a significant decline in crypto transactions related to it in 2021, but still totaled over $450 million USD. The authors speculated that ransomware attackers are trying to make it harder to be tracked and that almost 50% of crypto-related ransomware continues to be cashed out using centralized exchanges.

Crypto Crime: How Bad is It and Is It Getting Worse?

Cryptocurrency has been under scrutiny by regulators for years. But how bad is crypto crime, and is it getting worse? In a recent report by blockchain analytics company Chainalysis, it was revealed that illicit crypto activity hit an all-time high in 2021. This finding could have major consequences on crypto regulations and the industry’s market. In this article, we’ll summarize the report, explain its findings in simple terms, and discuss the possible consequences of these revelations.


Chainalysis released its 2022 version of the annual Crypto Crime Report, highlighting many alarming trends. The report begins by noting that elicit crypto volumes reached an all-time high in 2021 due to a surge in sanctions designations and hacking. The authors did not count the activities of crypto companies like FTX as illicit since the allegations are still being settled in court, and the authors only analyzed on-chain data. However, the increasing decentralization of cryptocurrency may lead to more data being on chain, potentially providing companies like Chainalysis with complete visibility.

Illicit Crypto Transactions in 2021

Chainalysis estimated that there were approximately $20 billion worth of illicit crypto transactions in 2021. The authors cautioned that this is a lower bound estimate and that this figure would likely be revised higher as more criminal crypto wallets are detected.

Sanctions Related Crypto Transactions

The authors note that crypto crime continued to increase even during a decline in the crypto market. The biggest contributor to this growth was sanctions violations. The authors specified that 43% of all illicit crypto transactions were associated with sanctions in 2021 due to the crypto sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. The authors call these sanctions ambitious and difficult to enforce. Nonetheless, only around 0.24% of cryptocurrency transactions in 2021 were linked to illicit activity, but that figure was double that of the previous year. The authors note that illicit crypto transaction volume was falling slower than legit crypto transaction volume in August 2021.

Ransomware-Related Crypto Transactions

Ransomware-related crypto transactions fell significantly in 2021, but the figure was still quite high, at over $450 million USD. The authors note that almost 50% of crypto-related ransomware continues to be cashed out using centralized exchanges, representing a 10% increase compared to 2021. Nonetheless, most ransomware operates as ransomware as a service, meaning that ransomware groups sell their software to criminal actors or governments.


The Chainalysis Crypto Crime Report for 2022 reveals a significant increase in illicit crypto activity. Sanctions violations were the biggest contributor to this abnormal growth, and much of the report addresses sanctions-related crypto transactions, which may have major consequences for crypto regulations and the industry’s market. Ransomware-related crypto transactions fell significantly, though they still remain high. As the industry becomes more decentralized, the possibility of complete visibility for companies like Chainalysis could lead to greater scrutiny of crypto transactions.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

What's in Store for XRP this Week? Find Out the Details of the Ripple XRP Lawsuit!

In a video, Dusty discusses the recent XRP trade that resulted in around 50% profit. He talks about two streams regarding the future of Bitcoin – one is bullish and thinks it will build up from here...

Unraveling the Mystery: Sudden Drop in Stocks and Crypto Values!

In a video update, Sam explains the reason for the sudden dip in both cryptocurrency and stock markets towards the end of the day. According to him, the dip was triggered by the detection of the first...

What's the Latest Buzz Surrounding CRYPTO.COM and Altcoins? Don't Miss Out on the Urgent Update! 🔥 is giving away more than 50 NFTs created by various artists to support local relief and humanitarian efforts in Turkey following recent earthquakes. The collection ends in three days, and all...

What is China's master plan in Africa? Find out how they're making their move.

China has been investing heavily in Africa in recent years, seeking to accumulate resources and influence in the continent. Africa is home to vast mineral reserves, arable land, and a rapidly-growing population,...

"Unveiling the Top 5 Cryptocurrencies to Invest in for 2023 - Are You Ready?"

The video discusses the top five cryptocurrencies to watch, covering recent news, potential, and functions. The first cryptocurrency mentioned is XRP, the native cryptocurrency of the Ripple Network, which...

Explore the Exciting Differences Between Navigating Altcoin & DeFi Ocean with an Array of Tools 🛠️ and the Bare Minimum Approach 🛶 - Which is the Smart Choice?

Navigating the altcoin and decentralized finance space without proper tools and information is like sailing the ocean with just a hole and a single sail compared to a robust ship with multiple sails, cannons,...

"The Truth about Ultimate Champions NFT Play to Earn Game: Should You Buy CHAMP Token and CHAMP Crypto?"

The video discusses the Ultimate Champions game, how to make money from it, and whether or not the speaker will invest in it. The game involves collecting sports cards and participating in leagues, tournaments,...

Unveiling the Secret Method for Crypto Long/Short Trade Without an Exchange! 👁️ #shortcrypto #binance #longsqueeze #leveragetrading

The author is interested in investing in Ethereum, but after the recent FTX drama, they do not want to use an exchange. Instead, they suggest using a decentralized exchange like Uniswap, but note that...

What's the Magic Number? My XRP Purchase Strategy Unveiled!

The author has not purchased XRP for over a year due to its plummeting price. They remain hesitant to invest given the current bear market affecting all cryptocurrencies, including those they love such...

Discover the Ultimate Trading Guide for 2023 with Finteria: Stocks, Crypto, Forex & Commodities!

Moonlight discusses trading cryptocurrencies and provides a step-by-step guide on how to become profitable in trading crypto. She recommends a platform called, which allows users to trade...
Load More



Coming Soon

Subscribe and be the first to know about the launch

Look at our roadmap


Thanks for subscribing

You will only receive important notifications
For now, follow to our social networks