From July 2020 to July 2021, the volume of cyber extortion and digital asset crimes worldwide was at least $1 billion. The study was conducted by Kaspersky Lab.
The number of major attacks and blackmail attempts involving cybercriminals exceeded 1,000 cases in 2021, the company’s experts estimated. The average ransom amount was about $250,000, but often went as high as $5-10 million.
Among the main reasons for the activation of extortionists called the rise in the price of cryptocurrencies and the increase in their popularity.
Analysts estimate that in Russia, the volume of crimes with digital assets in 2021 reached about $50 million.
The cryptocurrency exchange Binance responded to 5,600 calls from law enforcement in 2021. The figure doubled from 2020, said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao.
PayPal announced that it had increased the weekly limit on cryptocurrency purchases for some U.S. customers to $100,000. Previously, users could buy digital assets for an amount not exceeding $20,000.
In late May, PayPal announced that users would be able to transfer digital currencies to third-party wallets.
Since March 30 PayPal users can pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency. Conversion into fiat currencies occurs at the time of payment. In the coming months the service should appear in all 29 million outlets that work with PayPal.
U.S. customers of the service got access to cryptocurrency in November 2020. Since then, they can buy, hold and sell digital assets directly through PayPal. One of the disadvantages of the service is the inability to withdraw cryptocurrency to third-party wallets.
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of the cryptocurrency derivatives exchange, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Goldman Sachs, CME Group and other financial market giants could buy the service. According to Bankman-Fried, this could happen after the site becomes the largest, surpassing its competitors, the cryptocurrency exchanges Coinbase and Binance.
“If we become the largest exchange, buying Goldman Sachs and CME Group is not out of the question at all,” the FTX chief said.
FTX announced in May that it had raised up to $1 billion in additional funding, which it expects to boost its valuation to $20 billion. FTX generated $85 million in fee income last year and expects to raise that to $400 million in 2021.