More than $760 million of cryptocurrency has been stolen from exchanges in 2018, according to a new report by blockchain security firm Ciphertrace. That’s already three times last year’s total of $266 million.
The thefts have fueled a burgeoning money laundering industry, in which services will trade the stolen funds around the cryptocurrency ecosystem until they appear legitimate—typically in exchange for a 1% to 3% fee, according to the report. These services are so in-demand that some of them even have begun advertising using Google AdWords.
As the scale of suspicious activity in the crypto marketplace grows, it’s unclear how law enforcement will keep pace with the myriad ways criminals around the world have exploited the sphere’s anonymity for financial gain.