Illicit crypto volume decreased to $34.8b in 2023, TRM Labs says

The overall proportion of total illicit crypto funds is shrinking by 9% on a year-on-year basis, although bad actors still handled over $34 billion in 2023.

The total volume of illicit crypto funds decreased by nearly one-third in 2023, according to research done by TRM Labs. The findings reveal that the volume fell from $49.5 billion in 2022 to $34.8 billion in 2023. The San Francisco-headquartered blockchain forensics firm noted that the decline outpaced the 22% reduction “seen in the overall cryptocurrency transaction volume during the same period.”


In addition to the overall decrease, the total value of funds sent to sanctioned addresses and entities also shrank: from $25.4 billion in 2022 to to $16.2 billion in 2023, TRM Labs says, adding that the decline was accompanied by “increased pressure from governments and law enforcement bodies.”

“Indeed, last year also saw a three-fold rise in sanctions against crypto-related businesses and individuals. Twelve ransomware groups, six high risk exchanges and a cryptocurrency mixing service featured among the 33 OFAC designations.”

TRM Labs

Despite this downward trend, TRM Labs notes that the sale of illicit drugs on darknet marketplaces has remained robust, with volume climbing to $1.6 billion in 2023, up from $1.3 billion in 2022, indicating “little impact from the general crypto crime downturn.”

As earlier reported, recent insights from Chainalysis validate TRM Labs’ findings, revealing an uptick in revenue for fraud shops and darknet marketplaces following the shutdown of the Hydra marketplace in 2022. The data indicates that the combined revenue of darknet marketplaces surged to nearly $2 billion in 2023, marking a noteworthy 25% escalation from the preceding year’s metrics.

Moreover, Chainalysis shed light on the emergence of two fresh darknet marketplaces, aggressively promoting their offerings in Moscow in a bid to fill the void following Hydra’s collapse.

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