Russia is one of the fastest adopters of cryptocurrencies. Since its invasion in Ukraine, the country has been talked about a lot. But this time it’s the report from blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis that draws attention to Moscow.
Cybercrime in Russia, what role do cryptos play?
Russia ranks eighteenth in the ranking of countries that adopt cryptocurrencies. However, the use of digital assets in the country is not always positive. Indeed, there is significant money laundering activity based on cryptos and ransomware.
Russia has long been home to the best hackers in the world and they put their knowledge to good use. As the reports Chainalysis, nearly 74% of ransomware revenue in 2021 is somehow affiliated with the country of Vladimir Putin. These revenues represent more than $400 million worth of cryptocurrency.
Web traffic data and blockchain analysis show that most funds extorted by ransomware are laundered through services intended only for Russian users. Because of this, a significant amount of crypto money laundering goes through services with substantial operations in Russia.
Currently, Russia is home to crypto companies that receive millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency per quarter. And the real question is where does this money come from? Note that during a quarter, illicit addresses represent nearly 48% of the funds received by crypto companies in Moscow. Interesting fact ?
More than half of the companies designated as suspicious operate in the Federation Tower. According to data from Bloomberg and New York Times, this complex of two skyscrapers is home to many crooks. Indeed, in this tower, there are several crypto companies that facilitate large-scale laundering. This goes through scams, ransomware and the darknet.
With cybercrime on the rise, Russia should take action regarding the crypto ecosystem. In January this year, Russian police arrested 14 people affiliated with the ransomware organization REvil. However, analysts remain skeptical about the nature of these arrests.
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