2022 Annual Crime Rank

North Korea heads up the world’s top five crypto crime locations

North Korea leads the world in crypto crime according to a new report from Coincub. An army of approximately 7,000 hackers has raised funds for the DPRK through a series of profitable cyberattacks. North Korea has over 15 documented instances of crypto crime, with proceeds conservatively estimated at $1.59 billion.

The US and Russia take second and third place in Coincub.com’s inaugural crypto crime ranking. The United States is in second place due to the scale of its underground crypto economy and a series of high-profile scams. The U.S. had 14 documented instances of attributable crypto crime, with proceeds over $2 billion.

The sheer amount of ransomware coming out of Russia qualifies it for third place. The country is the point of origin for infamous malware strains like Conti, REvil, Ryuk, and Netwalker. Organized gangs of hackers often enjoy tolerance, if not outright approval from the Kremlin.

Large-scale fraud, exchange hacks, and Ponzi schemes mean that China places fourth on Coincub’s crypto crime ranking. China also leads in fraud profits, with an 18% share of the world’s crypto crime volume.

The United Kingdom takes fifth place due to the many hacks and scams that have taken place within its jurisdiction. The U.K. is a global hub for crypto fraud as lax corporate regulations allow fraudsters to obfuscate the source and destination of funds. In 2021 alone, 7,118 cases of crypto fraud were reported.

Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Seychelles rounded out the top 10 for crypto crime.

Despite crypto’s reputation for crime, research shows that the crypto economy is relatively law-abiding. According to Coincub CEO Sergiu Hamza, “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 2-5% 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.”

Crypto crime is still a pressing issue today, as seen by a recent $100 million hack on blockchain bridge Horizon. Read the full breakdown of the worldwide crypto crime ranking here.

Editors’ notes:

  1. Coincub took data from over 244 instances of criminal activity connected to cryptocurrency to create this ranking.
  2. Coincub, the crypto ranking website, produces quarterly rankings for individual countries and continents, including top mining countries and most advantageous locations for trading and tax purposes. The crypto crime ranking category has been added for Q2 and will form part of quarterly rankings going forward.

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