Bitcoin has grown in popularity as a tool of money laundering, as well as allowing many people to make money through illegal ways, thanks to its mostly unregulated technology. However, the US government has recently begun to pay more attention to the cryptocurrency space, resulting in the discovery of around $5.2 billion in Bitcoin transactions tied to ransomware payments.
According to a report provided by the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), ransomware-related transactions totaled $590 million in the first six months of 2021. The total already exceeds the $416 million sum reported in the study.
The median monthly suspect amount of ransomware transactions was $45 million, while the mean monthly suspicious amount was $66.4 million. According to the study, “Bitcoin (BTC) was identified as the most common ransomware-related payment mechanism in recorded transactions by FinCEN.”
The fact that a colossal $5.2 billion in transactions has been associated to departing Bitcoin ransomware-tied payments is a more interesting piece of information that was revealed by the research. The top ten most frequent ransomware versions have been related to that figure.
The figure was determined by looking at 2,184 suspicious activity reports (SARs) issued between January 2011 and June 2021, according to FinCEN. The most commonly reported culprits were REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos, with 68 ransomware variations identified.
Cryptocurrency has definitely been used by ransomware gangs to launder money, but the US Treasury has revealed steps to crack down on such activity. The government announced its first-ever fine against a bitcoin exchange last month.
In other news, Bitcoin has surpassed the $60,000 barrier, setting a new 6-month high. It is currently trading near the all-time high price of $64,863 set on April 14, 2021.