• According to Chainalysis, revenue from cryptocurrency scams went down by 46% in 2022.
• Investment scams generated the most revenue last year, at $3.4 billion.
• Romance scams had the most destructive impact on a revenue-per-victim basis.
Investment scams were the dominant category of crypto scams in 2022, with all ten of the top scams being investment scams. Hyperverse was the top scam of 2022, generating almost $1.3 billion in revenue. Crypto fraudsters adopted stablecoins for their schemes as a hedge against a market crash and to capitalize on potential victims who hoped to take advantage of rising prices in Bitcoin (BTC). The data also revealed that investment scams were most correlated with Bitcoin’s price movements, likely due to promises of outsized returns.
Despite generating lower overall revenue than investment scams, romance scams had an average victim deposit of almost $16,000 which is nearly triple the next closest category. The total revenue and reach of romance scams are likely higher than reported due to underreporting by victims because of the personal nature of these schemes. Moreover, 1% of victim payments to crypto-related frauds come from crypto ATMs, indicating this payment method is not commonly utilized for illicit activities.
Chainalysis‘ report found that most scam revenue disproportionately comes from the U.S., particularly NFT-related frauds. Furthermore, centralized crypto exchanges and DeFi protocols sent significant amounts towards scammers as well.
Overall, cryptocurrency scam revenue has significantly decreased since 2021 despite various types of fraud still impacting users around the world today. Investment scammers remain dominant but other categories such as romance and NFT related schemes are also prevalent amongst fraudsters with varying effects on victims depending on their individual circumstances and intentions behind their investments into digital assets or services related to them