Elliptic Reports Scammers Have Stolen NFTs Worth $100M Over The Past Year

Ayush Pande
26.08.2022
"Our data-driven analysis into the prevalence of money laundering, terrorist financing, scams and sanctioned entities finds that these financial crimes represent a small but notable portion of overall non-fungible token (NFT)-related trading activity."

NFTs Scams Unabated By Bearish Market

With crypto scams and hacks on the uptick, Elliptic, a blockchain analysis and risk management firm compiles a report stating that NFT scammers and thieves have successfully laundered over $100M as NFTs between July 2021 and July 2022. Moreover, the average funds acquired by stealing these NFTs were $300K per scam.

The report summarizes the laundering trends observed in the NFT scene since 2017 to reveal that NFT-related scams have increased exponentially since 2017, when the NFTs laundered amounted to $8M, compared to $100M worth of NFTs laundered over the past year.

Elliptic reveals that July 2022 saw the highest number of NFTs stolen in a month, with over 4,600 NFTs laundered by scammers. Interestingly, the high scam rates in July occurred when both the crypto and the NFT markets were on a bearish trend. Furthermore, many believe that the actual figures are much higher as thefts of lower-priced NFTs go unnoticed, which is why Elliptic may have missed them when compiling the report. 

Tornado Cash The Laundering Tool Of Choice In Majority Of Scams

Elliptic's report accuses Tornado Cash, the Ethereum-based mixing tool under fire by the SEC and banned by many crypto exchanges, as the source of over $137M worth of crypto assets processed by NFT marketplaces. Moreover, Tornado Cash was the "tool of choice" in 52% of scams, as scammers used it to hide their laundered funds before the OFAC sanctioned the platform at the beginning of the month.

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