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NFT theft reach $100M from July 2021 to July 2022

Crypto risk management firm Elliptic released its NFTs and Financial Crime report that revealed crypto users have been victims of $100.6 million of NFT-related scams from July 2021 to July 2022.

Image by: Marco Verch Professional Photographer / Flickr

Sat, 27 Aug 2022, 08:14 am UTC

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) might have entered the scene later than popular cryptos such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) but scammers and bad actors have already set their sights on the niche. In fact, scammers have already stolen more than $100 million worth of NFTs since 2021.

On Wednesday, crypto risk management firm Elliptic released its NFTs and Financial Crime report that revealed crypto users have been victims of $100.6 million of NFT-related scams from July 2021 to July 2022, Cointelegraph reported.

Scammers remain active even as the current crypto market downturn also dragged down NFT prices. In fact, scammers stole the most number of tokens in July, estimated to be around 4,647 NFTs. Meanwhile, May 2022 is the top month in terms of the total monthly value of stolen NFTs with around $23.9 worth of digital collectibles stolen by scammers.

The most valuable NFT theft verified by Elliptic was a CryptoPunk, which was valued at $490,000 when it was stolen in November 2021. Meanwhile, the most valuable theft that involved a single victim happened in December 2021 when scammers were able to pilfer “16 blue chip NFTs worth $2.1 million.”

Since 2017, cybercriminals used NFT platforms to launder more than $8 million in illicit funds, according to the report. During the same period, criminals used crypto mixers including Tornado Cash to launder more than $328 million. The report added that Tornado Cash, which has been sanctioned by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control in August, was “the laundering tool of choice” for majority of scams.

The crypto risk management firm also spotted a recent trend where cybercriminals appear to be targeting new projects more. “Across June and July 2022, thefts of valuable NFTs decreased while those affecting lower value early-stage projects rose,” Elliptic said. “This trend likely partially reflects valuable NFT owners "hodling" their assets throughout the bear market and not engaging as actively with new projects vulnerable to scammer activity.”

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