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Fraudsters steal $14bn worth of crypto in 2021, new report says

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Is Africa’s financial system about to experience yet another major disruption? Here's what we know

Cryptocurrency-related crime hit an all-time high in 2021 as the decentralised finance (DeFi) community recorded more phishing campaigns and other schemes linked to the digital assets.

Unsuspecting crypto users funded fraudulent addresses with $14 billion worth of crypto last year, rising by 79% when compared to the illicit activities recorded in 2020.

According to an industry report for 2021 by Chainalysis, a crypto analytical company, legitimate cryptocurrency activities surpassed that of crypto-related crime, but the latter has never depleted in recent times.

The report stated that, “In fact, illicit activity’s share of cryptocurrency transaction volume has never been lower, since the growth of legitimate cryptocurrency usage has far outpaced that of criminal activity usage.

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“The raw value of illicit transactions reached its highest level ever in 2021, yet illicit transactions accounted for just 0.15% of cryptocurrency transactions.”

The percentage accounted for by illicit activities is projected to rise as the cryptocurrency community welcome more prospective investors with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been experiencing bearish run in 2022 extended from 2021, the digital coins’ adoption is growing through peer-to-peer, which might contribute to the cryptocurrency-related crimes.

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