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Report: 147,000 BTC from High-Risk Addresses Flew into Cryptocurrency Exchanges in H1 2020

Cryptocurrency exchanges have seen 147,000 BTC from high-risk addresses flow into their platforms in the past six months, according to a study released by Chinese crypto analytics firm PeckShield.

As per the PeckShield research focusing on Anti-Money Laundering (AML), as of June 30, crypto exchanges have taken in 13,927 sums of high-risk assets, totaling a whopping $1.4 billion worth bitcoins.

The study pointed out that Huobi, Binance and OKEx were top three recipients of these high-risk assets, taking in about 90k BTC combined and accounting for over 60% of the total amount. Other favored exchanges include ZB, Gate.io, BitMEX, Luno, HaoBTC, Bithumb, and Coinbase.

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Top recipients of illicit assets

In terms of illicit fund withdrawals, Binance, Huobi, Kraken and Luno were heavily favored, the four platforms seeing over 30k bitcoins withdrawn in the first half of 2020.

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Crypto exchanges favored in illicit asset withdrawals

Flow-in and out of those high-risk crypto assets from addresses labeled by Peckshield as hacking, scam, dark web and gambling addresses were seen extremely active in exchanges throughout March when bitcoin lost about half its value, the study added.

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Trading frequency and trading amount (by BTC amount) involving illicit assets in crypto exchanges

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Bitcoin price throughout the first six months of 2020 (Source: Coinmarketcap)

The high concentration of flow-in and out in no ways implied any wrongdoing on the part of these exchanges, as the research said, but it did put pressure on crypto exchanges in terms of compliance.

In addition to the known compliance issues of the crypto exchanges, there are also some intermediate services that are completely unregulated, such as bitcoin mixers and registration-free cryptocurrency swap service providers.

The report said that bitcoin mixers making the entire flow of money more complex and difficult to track have sucked up large amounts of illicit assets.

Up to now, the team has monitored at least $1.59 billion worth crypto assets associated with bitcoin mixers like Bitlaunder, HelixMixer, Samourai, Wasabi, BitcoinFog. KYC (Know Your Customer)-free exchange platforms like ChangeNow and CoinSwitch are also a mainstream money-laundering channel.

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