Coronavirus-Induced Poverty Will Bring More Bitcoin Crime in 2021: Kaspersky Report

The cybersecurity specialist foresees a rise in crypto crime ahead in 2021 as the COVID-19 epidemic hits national economies.

AccessTimeIconNov 30, 2020 at 1:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:36 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Cybersecurity specialist Kaspersky foresees a rise in crypto crime ahead as the COVID-19 epidemic hits national economies.

In a report on financial threats for 2021, based on data and patterns from this year the company said Monday that attacks aimed at stealing bitcoin will "become more attractive as many nations plummet into poverty as a result of the pandemic."

The compounding factor of weakening local currencies amid the crisis will also drive people to cybercrime, leading to more bitcoin fraud as well as theft, the firm predicted. It said the focus would be on bitcoin because it is "the most widespread cryptocurrency."

In a change of tactic, Kaspersky also sees online criminals moving away from bitcoin when demanding ransoms or payments from victims. The use of "transition currencies" with privacy-enhancing features, such as monero, will see greater use as a way to hide criminals' tracks, the firm said, and will be later converted to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

This shift is being driven governments' improved crypto sleuthing capabilities when it comes to monitoring, deanonymizing and seizing crypto accounts, per the report. The firm cites the recent seizure of funds worth over $1 billion by the U.S. Justice Department from a Silk Road-linked account.

Targeted ransomware attacks, which generally demand payment in cryptocurrency, are also expected to rise, having seen "successful operations and extensive media coverage this year."

"Organizations, which may be hurt by the loss of data and exhausting recovery processes, are in the crosshairs, with more cybercriminals targeting them with ransomware or DDoS attacks or even both," Kaspersky said.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.