TRM Labs: Crypto Ecosystem Illicit Funds Shrank 9% Last Year, But Criminals Handled Nearly $35B

According to a recent study by TRM Labs, the amount of illegal cash in the cryptocurrency ecosystem decreased by 9% between 2022 and 2023. Unfortunately, there are sorts of crypto-based crime that have increased. As an example, in 2023, illicit drug sales on darknet markets were $1.3 billion, but in 2024, they increased to $1.6 billion.

According to blockchain analytics company TRM Labs, criminals still dealt with approximately $35 billion worth of cryptocurrencies in 2023, although overall, unlawful activity in the cryptocurrency ecosystem shrank by 9% compared to 2022.

On Wednesday, a research called "The Illicit Crypto Economy" was released by TRM Labs. The report examined the major trends of 2023.

Scams and frauds made up around a third of all cryptocurrency crimes in 2023, according to the business. Importantly, while TRM did find that the percentage of criminal funds in crypto declined over 2023, it is still far greater than current industry projections.

The amount of money that were compromised or were exposed to sanctions appears to have decreased as a consequence of regulatory pressure. Just in the United States, "the number of crypto crime-linked entities and individuals subject to sanctions" "tripled," according to the report. But compared to 2022, hackers associated with North Korea stole 30% less. From $3.7 billion in 2022 to $1.8 billion in 2023, the revenues from hacks dropped more than 50%.

According to the data, there was a significant 150% decline in the volume of sales of fentanyl and its precursor components from 2022 to 2023. Still, vendor revenues jumped from $16 million to $33 million, an increase of more than 97% year-on-year. Dark web medicine sales, however, increased from $1.3 billion in 2022 to $1.6 billion in 2023.

According to the research, the TRON Blockchain accounted for nearly half of all illicit crypto volume in 2023, up from 41% in 2022. With $19.3 billion, stablecoin Tether (USDT) had the highest percentage of illicit traffic, followed by Ethereum at 24% and Bitcoin at 18%.

In 2023, there was a 125% increase in the number of unique TRON addresses that received Tether, which is relevant to the topic of terrorism financing. Upon receiving a comment request from CoinDesk, TRON reps did not promptly react.

Stay turned for development