25 May 2018
Criminals have stolen about $1.2 billion (0.9 billion pounds) in cryptocurrencies since the beginning of 2017, as bitcoin’s popularity and the emergence of more than 1,500 digital tokens have put the spotlight on the unregulated sector, according to estimates from the Anti-Phishing Working Group released on Thursday.
The estimates were part of the non-profit group’s research on cryptocurrency and include reported and unreported theft.
“One problem that we’re seeing in addition to the criminal activity like drug trafficking and money laundering using cryptocurrencies is the theft of these tokens by bad guys,” Dave Jevans, chief executive officer of cryptocurrency security firm CipherTrace, told Reuters in an interview.
Jevans is also chairman of APWG.
Of the $1.2 billion, Jevans estimates that only about 20 percent or less has been recovered, noting that global law enforcement agencies have their hands full tracking down these criminals.
Their investigations of criminal activity will likely take a step back with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect on Friday.
– By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Reuters, 24 May 2018.
Link to Reuters.
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