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Cryptocurrency Scams Stole $7.7 Billion From Investors In 2021

A total of $7.7 billion U.S. was stolen in cryptocurrency scams worldwide during 2021, according to a new report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis.

The number of cryptocurrency scams over the past year was 81% higher than in 2020, according to the report.

Rug pulls, a type of scam where developers abandon a project and leave with investors’ funds, became the most popular scam in the decentralized finance, or DeFi, ecosystem, Chainalysis wrote in its year-end summary.

In 2021, rug pulls accounted for over $2.8 billion U.S. in stolen investor funds, or 37% of all cryptocurrency scam revenue, up from 1% in 2020.

The biggest rug pull of the year centered on “Thodex,” a large Turkish centralized cryptocurrency exchange whose chief executive disappeared soon after the exchange halted users’ ability to withdraw funds.

The number of financial scams active at any point in the year rose significantly in 2021 to 3,300, up from 2,052 in 2020, according to the report.