What Chainalysis concluded was that the major sell-off in cryptocurrencies sparked by the coronavirus – total market cap fell by $100 billion in mid-March, according to CoinGecko – had a knock-on effect on scammers’ revenue.
The economic impact from the COVID-19 outbreak is even hitting crypto scammers, forensics firm Chainalysis found.
Research out Friday shows profit made through cryptocurrency scams has dropped considerably since the start of the year. On a seven-day moving average, revenue earned by scammers plummeted from $800,000 worth of crypto in the middle of January to below $300,000 at the beginning of April – almost entirely due to the dramatic market drop earlier this year.
Researchers initially thought the coronavirus might make people less susceptible to scams. But they found that just as many people were being affected. The number of individual transfers – the number of payments sent to scammers – actually hit a year-to-date high at the start of April.
“We believe scammers are still receiving those same payments from roughly the same number of victims per month. The payments are just worth less now due to cryptocurrency price drops,” Chainalysis said in its report.
“In short, while COVID-19 is providing phishing and blackmail scammers with new fraudulent stories to entice victims, the cryptocurrency price drops spurred by the pandemic have drastically reduced the revenue of the Ponzi schemes and investment scams that make up most cryptocurrency scamming activity.”
This drop in scam revenue is likely to be temporary; cryptocurrencies are already rebounding and CoinDesk data shows bitcoin has regained most of its losses since the coronavirus sell-off. As market fortunes return, scammers may be one of the first groups to feel the benefits.
Coronavirus Concerns Cause Another Crypto Event to Be Postponed
With the new coronavirus now having killed a reported 638 people, most of them in China, the ramifications of the outbreak are continuing to affect lives and businesses in the region. And the cryptocurrency industry is no exception.
According to an announcement
on Thursday, the TOKEN2049 crypto conference, planned to be held in Hong Kong on March 17-18, has now been pushed back to October over concerns about the outbreak.
“Over the past weeks, we have been monitoring the global developments around the Coronavirus closely. Whilst Hong Kong is managing the situation well and has taken strict precautions to contain any potential impact, uncertainty prevails,” the post from the organizers reads.
While the dates have changed, the event will remain the same in most aspects, the post adds, including the venue and schedule. The agenda may see changes as new speakers are signed up, it adds.
The news comes days after crypto exchange Binance was also forced to postpone
its Binance Blockchain Week Vietnam, originally scheduled for Feb. 29 to March 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“At Binance, we prioritize everyone’s health and safety during our events, and amid this global public health emergency, we have committed to do the right thing and protect would-be attendees from health risks associated with public gatherings. Thus, we have to postpone this event,” the exchange wrote Feb. 3.
As yet, new dates for the Vietnam event have not been announced.
As of the latest report from CNN, the coronavirus – officially known as “2019-nCoV” – has now infected at least 31,000 people in over 25 countries and territories. The US now has more than 12 confirmed cases, while the U.K. has three.
In Hong Kong, authorities are ordering people
entering from mainland China to “self-quarantine” for 14 days, the incubation period of the virus. The island now has around 24 cases of the viral pneumonia, according to a live map from Johns Hopkins University,’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and recently saw one of the first deaths from the disease outside China.
The Chinese doctor who alerted the world to the potential severity of the coronavirus and died of the illness himself on Thursday, has now been memorialized on the ethereum blockchain. A smart contract on ethereum with code formatted in the shape of a monument to Dr. Li Wenliang – who had been reprimanded by local police for sending ”false information” – was created in the early hours on Friday.