Cryptocurrency use in illegal activities plummets 83% in 2020

English Jan 25, 2021

Criminal activity related to cryptocurrency transactions reduced significantly in 2020, falling by around 83%.

According to data from Chainalysis, the total value of cryptocurrencies sent and received in 2019 was $ 2.1 billion. Last year the value fell to US $ 10 billion, representing 0.34% of the volume of crypto transactions. Much of this progress was due to the power of traceability by government agencies in the face of transactions, culminating in a reduction in the use of assets in illegal activities.

Analysis firm Chainalysis says that "another reason the percentage of criminal activity has fallen is because general economic activity has almost tripled between 2019 and 2020".


The ransomware attack, a type of digital hijacking, happens when the criminal makes victims pay ransom for their devices or data. This type of crime increased by about 300% in 2020, but remains only 7% of all funds received from addresses linked to criminal activities.

"They are the most destructive type of crimes related to cryptocurrencies, due to their economic impact and the ability to disrupt essential sectors and services."

Undoubtedly, the cryptocurrency market is attractive to criminals for the same reasons that it is attractive to the general public, its discreet nature, where banking secrecy reigns, and its support for anonymous transactions, in addition to the high liquidity of currencies that facilitate its sending to anywhere in the world without restrictions make this asset class extremely valuable. Still, as the market gains public, the share of criminal activity continues to decline and become increasingly insignificant when looking at the bigger picture.


Morel Hernandes

Writer passionate about politics, economics, blockchain and crypto-currencies.