Crypto laundered through coin swaps, bridges and DEXs hits $7 billion: Elliptic

Quick Take

  • Elliptic’s new report shows $7 billion was laundered through decentralized exchanges (DEXs), cross-chain bridges and coin swaps.

In October, when Elliptic published the first edition of its now annual report, the analytics firm had predicted that funds laundered through decentralized exchanges (DEXs), cross-chain bridges and non-KYC exchange services (called coin swaps) “would rise to $6.5 billion by the end of 2023.”

Far exceeding its original estimate, Elliptic today announced that $7 billion of “illicit or high-risk funds” have been laundered using “cross-chain and cross-asset services.”

Elliptic’s new report, however, shows that figure had already hit this high mark as of July of this year. “Criminals are using more complex cross-chain methods, such as derivatives trading and limit orders, to obfuscate their laundering activities,” the firm said in a statement.

Between July 2022 and July of this year Elliptic said $2.7 billion was laundered through coin swaps, bridges and DEXs.


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Lazarus Group

The firm also pinpointed the North Korean Lazarus Group as the top culprit. “The Lazarus Group  is singularly the largest source of all illicit funds laundered through cross-chain bridges and the third largest source of all cross-chain crime overall, having laundered over $900 million through cross-chain methods,” said Elliptic.

Based in London, Elliptic focuses on risk management for digital-asset organizations, governments and traditional financial institutions. Its investors include J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

RT Watson is a senior reporter at The Block who covers a wide array of topics including U.S.-based companies, blockchain gaming and NFTs. Formerly covered entertainment at The Wall Street Journal, where he wrote about Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. and the creator economy while focusing primarily on technological disruption across media. Previous to that he covered corporate, economic and political news in Brazil while at Bloomberg. RT has interviewed a diverse cast of characters including CEOs, media moguls, top influencers, politicians, blue-collar workers, drug traffickers and convicted criminals. Holds a master's degree in Digital Sociology.


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