The leading blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis, has released its 2021 crypto crime report which indicates that Mirror Trading International (MTI) was by far 2020’s biggest scam.
Taking in over $589 million worth of cryptocurrency, MTI stands out from the rest. The second largest scam after MTI stood at about $300 million with less than 100, 000 transactions.
The comprehensive 113-page report goes on to breakdown the MTI scandal revealing that it was marketed as a passive income source with consistent daily returns of 0.5%, which would translate to yearly gains of 500%.
According to the report:
MTI is based in South Africa, and claims to have offices in Stellenbosch and Johannesburg. Its web traffic falls in line with that, as more than half comes from South Africa.
The U.S., U.K., Canada, and Mexico also make up significant portions of MTI’s web traffic. We assume from this that most MTI victims hail from these countries in similar proportions as well. MTI has been actively receiving Bitcoin from “customers” since June 2018 and even has 150 employees listed on its LinkedIn company page.”
– 2021 Chainalysis Crypto Crime Report
Our 2021 Crypto Crime Report is here! Get 100+ pages of original data, research, & case studies on the latest trends in cryptocurrency-related crime, such as the ransomware spike, concentration in money laundering, darknet markets' difficulties, and more. https://t.co/nFrNnLEbly pic.twitter.com/imbxFz2rII— Chainalysis (@chainalysis) February 11, 2021
Using the Chainlysis Reactor, we can learn the following about this massive scam:
- MTI received $588 million worth of bitcoins
- More than 470, 000 transactions, primarily from exchanges, took place
- MTI used a popular crypto gambling service as a money laundering and cash out mechanism having received $39 million from the scam
The report also includes a list of the top 10 cryptocurrency scams, some of which are also quite popular across Africa. These include:
- Mirror Trading International (MTI)
- Forsage.io (popular in Africa)
- MiningCity.com (popular in Africa)
Chainalysis is advising crypto exchanges and other services to learn how these scams work in order to discourage users from sending funds to these mapped addresses or even consider blocking incoming trnsactions from such addresses.
Read / Download the full report here.
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