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Chainanalysis Claims $515 Million Bitcoin Used for Illegal Activities in 2019, Number Expected to Grow

A new Chainanalysis research shows that illegal bitcoin (BTC) transactions this year could reach $1 billion. The number remains high despite the ratio of illegal BTC use versus legal ones have been shrinking. 

A recent Bloomberg report revealed that the total value of BTC utilized on illegal transactions has so far reached around $515 million. However, research indicates that the figure will double and hit a billion by the time the year ends.

Only 1% of BTC Activity is Illegal

Hannah Curtis, a Chainanalysis executive says that compared to legal transactions, the number of BTC spent on illicit activities have been declining. She added that only one percent of BTC activity is illegal. It’s a big drop from the seven percent experienced in 2012.

The report also claimed that the bitcoins were spent mostly on the dark web – a notorious Internet subsection that doesn’t show in search engines. BTC transactions on the dark new reached an astounding $872 million in 2017 but dropped last year as the token’s price went down. 


The biggest dark web marketplace for spending bitcoins is said to be “Hydra.” Bitcoin is said to be the preferred cryptocurrency on these places, with Monero (XRM) coming a close second. These markets are known to be involved in the distribution of illegal pornography and drugs. 

Chainanalysis’ research is a stark reminder of the regulatory dangers that surround cryptocurrencies, which are popular among criminals due to the anonymity it provides. 

Steps are already being taken to address this though. In June, the Financial Action Task Force started to implement strict measures for cryptocurrency exchanges to know their customers.

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