Shaurya Malwa · 10 hours ago · 2 min read · Insights via ConsenSys
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Chainalysis says Binance and Huobi allegedly used for billions of dollars in criminal Bitcoin activity
Leading blockchain security and analytics company Chainalysis recently revealed that it tracked $2.8 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) that was allegedly transferred by criminal elements to major digital currency exchanges last year. The majority of these transactions reportedly went through Binance and Huobi, two of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.
The Chainalysis team wrote in its report: “While exchanges have always been a popular off-ramp for illicit cryptocurrency, they’ve taken in a steadily growing share since the beginning of 2019. Over the course of the entire year, we traced $2.8 billion in Bitcoin that moved from criminal entities to exchanges.”
About 27.5% of this amount went to Binance while another 24.7% went to Huobi, Chainalysis’ report noted.
300,000 individual Binance and Huobi accounts received Bitcoin from criminals in 2019
On the two leading crypto-asset exchanges, a relatively small group of trading accounts that received over $100 billion in BTC in 2019 took in the vast majority of the illicit funds, Chainalysis revealed. Around 75% of the total funds received on Huobi and Binance went to 810 of the highest-receiving user accounts, the report claimed.
“Overall, just over 300,000 individual accounts at Binance and Huobi received Bitcoin from criminal sources in 2019.”
Chainalysis’ researchers said that these large accounts are most likely managed by over-the-counter (OTC) brokers that “are typically associated with an exchange but operate independently.”
While Binance and Huobi have implemented fairly strict know-your-customer and anti-money laundering checks, these requirements are quite lenient for OTC desks. This has allowed some OTC desks to provide money-laundering services to criminal organizations, Chainalysis alleges.
100 large OTC dealers found providing money-laundering services
Out of 100 large 100 OTC dealers that Chainalysis found offering money laundering services, 70 are operating via Huobi’s platforms. These 100 brokers may collectively account for nearly 1% of all monthly Bitcoin (BTC)-related transactions, the report estimated.
Samuel Lim, chief compliance officer at Binance, says that the Malta-based exchange “is committed to cleaning up financial crime in crypto and improving the health of our industry.”
“We will continue to improve on our proprietary KYC and AML technology, as well as the third-party tools and partners we work with, to further strengthen our compliance standards.”