Cryptocurrency crime led to a loss of $4.52 billion in 2019. The volume of lost digital assets doubled in a year.

The analytical firm CipherTrace published an annual cryptocurrency crime report. According to it, in 2019, $4.52 billion in crypto was stolen as a result of criminal acts. That is 160% more than in 2018, when cryptocurrency crime losses amounted to $1.74 billion.

The main blow fell on users and investors who are in possession of cryptocurrencies. As a result of fraudulent actions in 2019, the amount of funds stolen from them jumped five times. At the same time, the volume of cryptocurrencies stolen in hacker attacks or direct thefts fell by 66%.

“We noticed a significant uptick in malicious insiders scamming unsuspecting victims or leaching on their users through Ponzi schemes,” Dave Jevans, CipherTrace chief executive officer, told Reuters. “Attacks from the inside of organizations lead to significant exits with major consequence to the crypto-ecosystem.”

The most astonishing cryptocurrency crimes of 2019 were the PlusToken financial pyramid, which cost investors about $3 billion, and the bankruptcy of the Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX, with thousands of customers losing access to $135 million.

CipherTrace also discovered a significant amount of semi-legal cryptocurrency transactions that are made through American banks. According to the report, a typical large US bank processes billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency-related transfers annually.

“These clandestine operations create AML (anti-money laundering) compliance risks because criminals must find ways to launder ill-gotten crypto profits,” CipherTrace said in the report.

In particular, 10 largest US retail banks were witnessed in connection with transfering cryptocurrencies obtained through illegal activities, the report notes.