Revenue for cybercriminals from ransomware annual revenue is decreasing. The analysts of the American firm Chainalysis made this conclusion, calculating the financial flows for 2022 to the addresses associated with cybercriminals.
According to published data from the blockchain firm, over the past year, victims enriched extortionists at their expense by almost $457 million. Despite the considerable size, the stated figure shows a tangible decline compared to 2021, when the attackers could get almost $766 million (a 40% year-on-year decline). By comparison, in 2019, about 76% of victims agreed to the extortionists’ terms, but now it’s just over 40%. This situation was also reflected in the current bitcoin rate.
At the same time, Chainalysis does not believe that the number of ransomware attacks has decreased. On the contrary, experts believe that the frequency of attacks has remained the same at best. In their opinion, the decline in financial flows likely shows the reluctance of victims to be taken in by cybercriminals, the analysts claim.
According to experts interviewed by Chainalysis, the position of victims could have been significantly affected by the warnings from the U.S. Treasury Department. Earlier, the agency promised to prosecute anyone who would pay a ransom to the attackers. Such an ultimatum could be because, according to the U.S. firm, about 15% of cryptocurrency payments to extortionists violated the sanctions regime.
In 2022, Chainalysis researchers found that a ransomware called Conti was the most contagious in the amount of revenue it received for 2021. According to analysts, the virus could collect about $180 million in cryptocurrencies from the victim. Back then, the DarkSide and LockBit viruses also raged on the market.
However, at the end of 2022, Conti lost its leadership among viruses. Another virus called Hive managed to steal most of the money, but Chainalysis suggests that the same attackers might be behind different virus strains.
Earlier we reported that the Cardano developer disclosed the details of the new version of the blockchain.
Crypto in France: the country’s government meets the cryptocurrency business
France will not require cryptocurrency businesses to shell out for a full license until the MiCA (Markets in Crypto-assets) directive comes into force in Europe. This is reported in the adopted amendment to regulate cryptocurrency companies in the country. So it will be easier to use cryptocurrency in France
Crypto in France – current regulation
France applies a two-tier regulation for crypto businesses. All companies providing cryptocurrency services must register as cryptocurrency providers. However, they are not required to obtain a full license, as traditional financial companies, for example, do. At the time of writing, there are about 60 cryptocurrency companies registered in France, including Binance. However, all of them decided not to get a full license, but only a temporary one.
While French lawmakers had previously called for a deadline of October 1, 2023, with the adopted amendments, cryptocurrency businesses may not rush to get a full license until at least 2025 (the MiCA is expected to come into force then). So we can fear nothing and continue to work with Bitcoin in France.
Earlier, François Villroy de Galo, Chairman of the French Central Bank, called to stop “indulging” cryptocurrency companies. According to Villeroy, the recent cascade of bankruptcies in the cryptocurrency market means that France should not wait for European rules to come into force, but hurry to tighten supervision itself.
In the summer of 2022, the European Union first agreed on requirements for the crypto market as part of the first package of the MiCA directive. Once the directive enters into force, the European Securities and Markets Authority will have the power to ban or restrict the business of crypto companies.
Also, the innovation will oblige crypto exchanges to inform about transfers to private wallets in case the amount of transferred cryptocurrency is more than €1,000. At the same time, European Central Bank Governor Christine Lagarde believes that it is necessary to work on the second version of MiCA for more regulation, as the first version still has legal gaps.
Earlier, we reported that Chia Network will prepare for an IPO and wait for the right moment.
Current bitcoin hashrate hits highs: will miners return to the big game?
The rise in the value of the asset is also reflected in the earnings of bitcoin mining companies, which have slumped heavily amid a prolonged crypto winter. The current bitcoin hashrate means big miners should be back in business soon.
Bitcoin hashrate at all-time high, continues to rise
Hashrate refers to the total processing power of a network. It depends on how many devices have joined the blockchain to process hashes. Hashrate growth thus indicates that more and more miners are involved in verifying transactions and securing the bitcoin network.
The bitcoin network’s hash rate has increased significantly since the lows of 2022: according to CoinWarz; it now stands at 272.94 EH/s, and reached a high of 296.8 EH/s on January 16. Hashrate Index analyst Jaran Meller ud commented on the situation:
“The mood of miners has improved for the first time in a long time. For many players in danger of bankruptcy, the sudden rise in the price of bitcoin is a lifeline,” he told the Financial Times.
Miners hit hard during crypto winter
The final months of 2022 were a serious test for mining companies. One of the biggest miners, Core Scientific, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings Inc. and Hut 8 Mining Corp, reported year-over-year revenue declines and huge losses. Nevertheless, shares of these companies have already generated double-digit returns for investors in 2023 due to the rise in the BTC price.
We previously reported that cyberattacks on cryptocurrencies will double in 2022.
DeFi and the future of finance: DeFi is given a leading role
DeFi and the future of finance: Venture capital firm Pantera Capital has named decentralized finance (DeFi) as the future of the global financial system. They published a blog post titled “One Year Ahead,” in which they gave their predictions for 2023 and paid special attention to the role of DeFi services in the future.
“Looking ahead, I think it’s pretty clear that the historic path of global finance will eventually lead to blockchain-based systems that use smart contracts. The real questions are how do we get there and what needs to happen to get there,” Pantera co-founder Joey Krug said in a post.
DeFi and the future finance
To achieve these goals, Krug said, the problems of inflated fees and insufficient liquidity in decentralized ecosystems must be addressed. Also, it should be easier to use these services, especially for newcomers.
Krug also noted that more institutional capital needs to be attracted to DeFi in the form of more government-controlled custodians that directly support Ethereum blockchain.
Another method, he said, is to aggregate the liquidity of different blockchains and pools. This will allow applications to find the best price and then execute users’ smart contracts. However, this aggregation would require the creation of secure cross-chain bridges.
That said, in the area of DeFi usability issues, there are still a lot of issues to work on, even though some of them are already being addressed. For example, cryptocurrencies should simplify the user interface; provide the ability to pay commissions not only in Ethereum, and improve services related to fiat payments.
Coinbase analysts also expect 2023 to bring a lot of good things for the crypto industry. According to platform experts, the maturity of the ecosystem, relative market liquidity and sustainable tokenomics will lead to digital asset choices to focus on better cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). These two cryptocurrencies will remain the dominant investments.
Crypto investors are also not ready to give up buying digital assets in 2023. Despite the crisis, almost half (40%) will continue to invest in cryptocurrency in 2023. However, respondents did not specify the volume of purchases.
Earlier we reported that Linux launched Metaverse, an open-world development fund.
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