Stablecoins, the new Haven for cybercriminals?

For several years, Bitcoin has often been singled out as the instrument of choice for criminals to carry out their illicit activities. However, according to crypto expert Tara Annison, this trend may be changing. Criminals seem to be gradually abandoning Bitcoin in favor of stablecoins, an alternative offering an easier route for their illegal transactions.

Stablecoins, the new Eldorado for cybercriminals

In the crypto world, criminals never cease to demonstrate their ingenuity, relentlessly exploring new methods to carry out their illicit activities.

For a long time, Bitcoin was considered the currency of choice for illegal activities, but this trend is changing. A recent observation calls into question Bitcoin’s supremacy as the preferred choice of criminals for their fraudulent operations.

During her presentation at the EthCC in Paris, Tara Annison, former head of technical consulting at Elliptic, revealed a change of course: criminals now turn more to stablecoins in particular USD Coin (USDC), to carry out their operations.

This development could be attributed to the emergence of Decentralized Finance protocols and, above all, to the discretion offered by stablecoins during illicit transactions.

Criminals use USDC because it’s so easy to launder via DEX.

Statement by Tara Annison

But it’s not all bad news. Annison highlights a potential advantage for law enforcement, and it’s a big one! Centralized transmitters, such as Circle, can freeze specific USDCs, thus preventing criminals from converting their assets into fiat currencies via DEX or centralized platforms. This measure could be a valuable asset in countering illegal activities linked to stablecoins.

Scams and New Practices

In addition to concerns about stablecoins, scams continue to haunt the crypto sector. Ingenious criminals now use sophisticated techniques, such as chain-swapping, to cover their tracks. They use a variety of tools, from DEX to crypto mixers such as Tornado Cash, in order to complicate investigations by companies specializing in blockchain analysis.

However, there is a glimmer of hope as crypto scams have fallen by a significant 46% compared with previous years. According to Annison, this decrease could be linked to the current crypto bear market, which makes the whole sector less lucrative for criminals.

In short, the methods employed by criminals are constantly evolving in the cryptosphere. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that cyberattacks will continue as long as the sector remains attractive to criminals. This calls for heightened vigilance on the part of all industry players, with the implementation of appropriate security measures to effectively counter illegal activities...