- Over $100 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from Horizon Bridge
- According to the Elliptic, a global blockchain analytics firm, theft is most likely carried out by North Korea’s Lazarus Group
- According to the World Bank report, 76 percent of adults worldwide now have an account
- percentage of account ownership has increased by double digits in 34 nations since 2017
- Excluding China, 40 percent of adults in developing economies have made first time digital payment post Covid
- Regulators around the World need to come together to address the issue of cross border frauds and financial crimes
Over $100 million in cryptocurrency was stolen from Horizon Bridge on the morning of June 24. Horizon Bridge enables the transfer of assets between the Harmony blockchain and other blockchains.
The attack last week that resulted in the theft of up to $100 million in bitcoin from a U.S. company was most likely carried out by North Korean hackers, according to the Elliptic, a global blockchain analytics firm. The nature of the hack and the subsequent laundering of the stolen monies provide strong evidence that North Korea’s Lazarus Group may be to behind for the heist. Over $2 billion in cryptoassets are thought to have been taken by Lazarus from exchanges and DeFi providers.
The hackers started moving the ETH into Tornado Cash. Tornado Cash is a mixer that is frequently used to launder crime proceed and hackers are using it to obliterate the transaction trail. Erosion of trail makes it easier to withdraw money from the exchange.
Globally DeFi space is emerging at a fast space and central banks are working on the CBDC. Apart from the crypto, financial transactions are replacing cash transactions at a faster pace. Progression towards digital economy is giving rise to enormous levels of digital risk.
According to the World Bank, Digital Payments are rising globally post pandemic. Financial inclusion has been on rise due to increase in financial services, however COVID-19 epidemic has bolstered financial inclusion globally driven by significant rise in digital payments. Financial inclusion has opened prospects of newer economic opportunities and has reduced the gender disparity in account ownership. Financial inclusion led by surge in digital payments has also strengthened the household resilience towards better handling the financial shocks.
From 68 percent in 2017 and 51 percent in 2011, 76 percent of adults worldwide now have an account with a bank or financial institution or with a mobile money provider. It’s significant that the expansion in account ownership was evenly spread across various nations.
According to the Global Findex 2021 Database, a large portion of the growth in account ownership during the previous decade was centred around China and India. However, the percentage of account ownership has increased by double digits in 34 nations since 2017, according to a 2021 poll.
Globally, COVID-19 boosted the adoption of digital financial services. Excluding China, 40 percent of adults in developing economies have made first time digital payment post Covid. People have executed digital transaction using card or phone or internet. Similarly, one-third of adults in developing economies have also made first time payment of utility bill directly from an account. Surge in digital payments have started since the start of the pandemic.
After the pandemic began, more than 80 million adults in India and over 100 million adults in China made their first digital merchant payment. Financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa increased significantly due to mobile money accounts.
Global payments revenues touched around $1.9 trillion in 2020. The e-commerce and mobile commerce booms have greatly contributed to the rise in the number of electronic transactions. Rise in digital economy is also leading to increase in digital crimes. Regulators are paying more attention as financial crime is increasingly becoming a matter of greater concern. Money-laundering proceeds originating due to financial crimes are exceedingly difficult to measure. UN Office on Drugs and Crime emphasise that the sums are vast and rising, reaching approximately 5% of the world GDP. In absolute terms sum involved can be in range of $800 billion to $2 trillion annually.
The European Commission (EC) announced intentions to establish a new EU agency to combat money laundering and financing for terrorism in 2021. legislative measures focussed on Money Laundering are intended to improve the detection of suspicious activities and effectively protect the financial system from criminal misuse by supporting the EU-level Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA).
Regulators around the World need to come together to address the issue of cross border frauds and financial crimes. Global financial inclusion will be successful in true sense when all the participants of the digital economy are insulated from the digital crimes and become part of the prosperity driven by inclusion.