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Crypto Crime: North Korea is the Country Most Infested With Scammers

3 mins
Updated by Nicole Buckler
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Crypto crime in North Korea hits the top of the charts. Finally, they win at something. Yay!

Crypto Crime – Gold Medal

North Korea now leads the world in crypto scams. This is according to a new study by  Coincub.

Authors of the report say, “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.”

Crypto Crime – Silver Medal

Following close behind is the USA. The second-place medal was won due to the scale of its underground crypto economy. Plus, multiple high-profile scams have taken place in the country. Says Coincub, “The U.S. had 14 documented instances of attributable crypto crime, with proceeds over $2 billion.”

Crypto Crime – Bronze Medal

The bronze medal goes to Russia. Authors of the study say, “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.”

crypto crime

China and Others

In fourth place is China. The place on the table is thanks to large-scale fraud. Also, exchange hacks, and Ponzi schemes have placed China right up there. “China also leads in fraud profits, with an 18% share of the world’s crypto crime volume.”

Then there’s the Brits. Those scallywags have taken fifth place due to the sheer number of hacks and scams within the 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.”

After that, the other countries following closely behind are Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, the British Virgin Islands, and Seychelles.

Crypto crime hotspots

Top 40

1 North Korea                  

2 United States

3 Russia

4 China

5 United Kingdom

6 Japan

7 Hong Kong

8 Canada

9 British Virgin Islands

10 Seychelles     

11 South Korea

12 Singapore

13 Vanuatu        

14 Poland

15 New Zealand

16 Italy

17 Marshall Islands         

18 Switzerland

19 Saint Kitts and Nevis 

20 Australia

21 Turkey

22 Israel

23 Finland

24 Slovakia        

25 Germany

26 India

27 Malta

28 Estonia

29 Gibraltar       

30 Norway

31 Spain

32 Denmark

33 Ireland

34 Vietnam

35 Brazil

36 Belize             

37 Cayman Islands          

38 Czech Republic           

39 Panama         

40 Mongolia      

Reputation Vs Reality

Even though the crypto world has a rep for crime, it’s not all bad. Overall, the crypto economy is rather law-abiding.

Sergiu Hamza is Coincub’s CEO. “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 crime by observing security best practices.”

Crypto crime is still a massive problem in the industry, thanks to the lastest hacks, including the $100 million hack on blockchain bridge Horizon.

Read the full breakdown of the worldwide crypto crime ranking here.

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Nicole Buckler
Nicole Buckler has been working as an editor and journalist for over 25 years, writing from Sydney, Melbourne, Taipei, London, and Dublin. She now writes from the Gold Coast in Australia. Nicole first bought Bitcoin in 2013 not really understanding what she was doing. She is an accidental HoDLer. Got a story on the culture side of crypto? Email [email protected]