Losses caused by crypto exchange hacks hit $927 million in the first nine months of 2018, already 250 percent higher than throughout all of 2017.
Reuters cites a Crypto Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) report for Q3 2018 from crypto intelligence firm CipherTrace, which pitted the $927 million figure against last year’s $266 million total.
According to the report, “smaller” thefts of crypto worth between $20-60 million are also steadily rising, hitting $173 million in the third quarter.
Reuters interviewed CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans, who is also chairman of the global anti-cybercrime organization, the Anti-Phishing Working Group.
Jevans told the agency that the real figures are likely to be 50 percent higher than those that were successfully traced in the report, emphasizing that CipherTrace is “aware of” over $60 million stolen in crypto that was not reported.
Jevans underscored that many leading crypto exchanges operate within countries that still have “weak” AML regulations, and estimated that $2.5 billion has been laundered in Bitcoin (BTC) since 2009, noting:
“The regulators are still a couple of years behind because there are only a few countries that have really applied strong anti-money laundering laws.”
To reach the $2.5 billion estimate, CipherTrace is said to have monitored around 350 million transactions on the top twenty trading platforms by global traded volumes, correlating 100 million of these with “highly suspect” or “criminal” counterparties that matched its own criminal activity data records.
“All exchanges get these money-laundered funds. You really can’t stop them,” Jevans is quoted as saying. The report is said to have indicated that these top exchanges — which CipherTrace declined to name — have been used to purchase 236,979 BTC worth of “criminal services,” worth around $1.56 billion as of press time. Jevans added:
“We learn about the criminal stuff often times after it actually happened. So there’s no way to know in real time. You can know 80-90 percent of the time, but it’s impossible to know 100 percent.”
Earlier today, Cointelegraph reported that another hacked Japanese exchange, Zaif — which suffered a theft resulting in losses of crypto worth around $59.7 million this September — has just released its official plan to provide financial support for affected customers’ assets.