US President Joe Biden recently issued an executive order that will oversee various cryptocurrency efforts, including a study of whether there should be a virtual dollar-based cryptocoin, the efficacy of various future banking regulations for the Federal Reserve, and the roles for executive agencies including Treasury, Justice and Homeland Security on how to best manage crypto markets. Additionally, those of you who have already begun doing your US federal taxes might have noticed that the IRS now wants you to document your crypto holdings for the past year.
These moves show that crypto is moving quickly into the mainstream. And with mainstream acceptance also comes the criminal element. Cryptocurrency-based crime hit new levels last year, doubling the amount collected from 2020 to $14 billion. According to a new report by Chainalysis, 2021 criminal crypto transaction volumes skyrocketed by more than six times what was seen in 2020. In this post for Avast, I explore some of the other trends in crypto crime, its intersection with ransomware, and what law enforcement is doing to stop it.