Cryptocurrency Crime Drops Significantly In 2020
It's ironic that during the same week the stock market has been exposed as a complete clown show, none other than the Bank for International Settlements warned that "bitcoin is increasingly vulnerable" and it could "break down altogether."
"Above all, investors must be cognisant that Bitcoin may well break down altogether," BIS general manager Agustín Carstens said in a speech on digital currencies this week. "Scarcity and cryptography alone do not suffice to guarantee exchange. Bitcoin needs a hugely energy-intensive protocol, called 'proof of work', to safely process transactions."
It's not digital currencies that are bad, it's just ones that aren't issued by central banks, or "the guardians of stability," are as the BIS tweeted "If #digitalcurrencies are needed, central banks should be the issuers, as they are best placed to provide sound money."
Despite the constant negative takes on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a whole, such as being riddled with fraud, crypto crime dropped by 57% in 2020, according to CipherTrace's Cryptocurrency Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Report.
The $1.9 billion in total crypto crime last year was a steep drop from 2019's $4.5 billion, which was the most on record, and is marginally higher than the $1.7 billion lost as a result of crypto thefts, hacks and frauds in 2018.
A WoToken scheme that cost investors $1.1 billion accounted for 58% of last year's total major crime volume. This is similar to 2019 where a PlusToken scheme, which was run by some of the same people from the WoToken scheme, accounted for 64% of the year's total major crime volume. Major fraud volume declined last year but still represented 73% of all of 2020's total crime.
"Thefts from hacks against centralized exchanges continue to decrease as these financial institutions mature and adopt stronger security measures," CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans said. "Regulation and enforcement are restricting centralized fraud schemes, which are pushing criminals to exploit decentralized finance services."
CipherTrace noted an increase in DeFi related hacks and scams in 2020 as half of all crypto hacks last year were of DeFi protocols.
"DeFi platforms enjoy many exemptions from traditional regulatory enforcement regimes that centralized exchanges, money service businesses and banks face," Jevans said. "For example, DeFi platforms often do not have to perform customer verification (Know Your Customer) or transaction anti-money laundering. This makes them ideal venues for moving and laundering money."
Last year $3.5 billion worth of bitcoin was sent to criminally associated bitcoin addresses, which is less than 1% of the total value of all cryptocurrency transactions for the year.
While regulators continue to put pressure on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, its reputation as a tool for criminals is likely to remain despite data showing cryptocurrency crime is declining.
Are you looking for ways to boost your investing strategy?
Check out Front. It's a free app that helps you make better investment decisions with their proprietary FISCO technology. It analyzes company and stock data 24/7 and rates stocks with a single score, like a credit score for stocks. Connect your existing broker to get a complete portfolio analysis and daily, personalized stock picks based on your preferences and existing investments.
It's time to start investing with data, not your gut.
Download Front for Free Today
GM to sell only electric vehicles by 2035. General Motors said by 2035 it will only sell electric vehicles as the company's offerings will no longer include vehicles with diesel- and gasoline-powered engines. The move is the latest in GM's triple zero vision that will see the company become carbon neutral by 2040. "For General Motors, our most significant carbon impact comes from tailpipe emissions of the vehicles that we sell – in our case, it’s 75 percent," GM CEO Mary Barra said on LinkedIn. "That is why it is so important that we accelerate toward a future in which every vehicle we sell is a zero-emissions vehicle."
Tesla unveils new Model S. During its earnings announcement Tesla unveiled the refreshed Model S, which sees minimal changes to the exterior but a revamped interior design. The interior design, the first since the Model S debuted in 2012, features a horizontal 17-inch display and a new steering wheel that will see drivers control turn signals and lights with buttons on the wheel. The $139,990 Plaid Plus Model S features more than 1,100 hp and can go from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds.
Walmart renames its media business. Walmart announced a handful of changes to its its media business, including changing its name from Walmart Media Group to Walmart Connect. Walmart also announced a partnership with The Trade Desk to launch a first-of-its-kind platform for suppliers and their media and ad agencies, which will be ready for the 2021 holiday season. "Walmart is pioneering a new frontier in digital advertising, providing marketers with access to shopper data for the first time, in a way that both protects consumer privacy and improves the consumer experience," The Trade Desk co-founder and CEO Jeff green said.
Faraday Future to go public in SPAC deal. Faraday Future has agreed to a deal to become the latest electric vehicle maker to hit the public markets through a merger with a SPAC. Faraday Future will merge with Property Solutions Acquisition Corp in a $3.4 billion deal, which will give Faraday Future $1 billion in gross proceeds. Founded in 2014, Faraday Future will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol FFIE.
Lowe's announces hiring spree. Lowe's announced it will hire 50,000 new associates this spring across its U.S. stores and give $80 million in discretionary bonuses to its front-line associates. Lowe's said its total commitment to associates, communities and store safety during the pandemic has now reached nearly $1.3 billion. "We're pleased to provide this additional bonus to support our current associates and excited to welcome these new associates so we can better serve customers across the country," Lowe's president and CEO Marvin R. Ellison said.