North Korea leads the way in global crypto crime

The US came second, Russia third, China fourth and the UK fifth

Flag of North Korea blowing in the wind                                 
Flag of North Korea blowing in the wind – Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to crypto crime, North Korea tops the global leader board as the country has more than 7,000 hackers who have collected $1.59bn (£1.3bn) from a series of profitable cyber attacks.

According to Coincub, a crypto exchange aggregator that compiled the league table of crypto crime countries, North Korea also came top because it had more than 15 documented instances of crypto crimes.

The US came second “due to the scale of its underground crypto economy and a series of high-profile scams”, of which there have been 14 documented instances of crypto crime, which netted more than $2bn (£1.64bn).

And in third place was Russia, due to the number of ransomware attacks that come out of the country – as well as the nation being regarded as the origin of “infamous malware strains like Conti, REvil, Ryuk, and Netwalker”.

China and the UK

Despite China coming in fourth, the country led the way in fraud profits with an 18% share of the world's crypto crime volume.

The UK came in fifth “due to the many hacks and scams that have taken place within its jurisdiction”.

In 2021 alone there were 7,118 cases of crypto fraud reported in the UK.

Japan came in at sixth place. Despite Japan’s “highly regulated, prosperous crypto economy” it has made “Japanese exchanges targets for hacks”.

The infamous Mt.Gox hack took place in Japan, the Bitcoin (BTC) exchange, which was handling over 70% of BTC transactions worldwide at its peak. The exchange closed down in 2014 following the hack.

Hong Kong, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Seychelles came in at seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth.

‘People still need to be vigilant about crypto crime’

Sergiu Hamza, CEO of Coincub, said: “While crypto fraud reached an all-time high last year it still represents a small part of the total crypto market at 0.15%. In comparison, criminal activity makes up 2% to 5% of the world’s GDP. It’s clear that crypto transactions are not disproportionately related to illicit activities. Nevertheless, people still need to be vigilant about crypto crime by observing security best practices.”

Coincub gathered data from more than 244 instances of criminal activity connected to cryptocurrency to create this ranking.

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