Thought Leadership | December 21, 2020

Crystal’s lookback at crypto industry 2020

by Marina Khaustova

A number of industries were put on pause this year due to the COVID19 pandemic. However, regulatory guidelines for the cryptocurrency markets continued to be a priority internationally in 2020, and legislation in the blockchain industry is ever more imminent. This, along with an increasing amount of cryptocurrencies being utilized for suspicious activities, has meant that Crystal Blockchain’s risk assessment and transactions and connections monitoring solution for virtual asset service providers (VASPs) has been an increasingly important tool to combat ML.

Bitcoin funds received by low and high risk entities: 2019 vs. 2020

Bitcoin funds received by virtual asset service providers increased by $118.6 billion to $272.9 billion in 2020, as compared to the $154.3 billion received in 2019. The amount of bitcoin received by darknet entities increased by $0.3 billion to $1.6 billion in 2020. And the amount received by mixers increased by $0.5 billion, meaning mixers received $1.4 billion bitcoin in total this year. The amount transferred by darknet entities to exchanges increased slightly, to $533 million. On the other hand, the amount of bitcoin earned by bitcoin miners dropped by $0.3 billion to $5 billion, and the number of transactions on the Bitcoin Blockchain also dropped by 11 million to 109 million transactions this year (but the average size of transactions increased).

Crystal revenue growth and business expansion in 2020

As per the fourth quarter of 2020, Crystal Blockchain has seen continued business growth and has 4X its annual revenue since 2019. The number of customers relying on the Crystal analytics solution continues to rise, and Crystal currently counts 150+ loyal customers on its platform, including South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit. Strategic partnerships to further the work to build safer global economic systems for VASPs and industry-adjacents have also seen Crystal join forces with industry giant FICO.

We are proud to cooperate with the Ukrainian Ministry for Digital Transformation as they work to regulate the virtual asset market. We are delighted to be part of their educational web series, alongside Binance and Hacken. We are happy to be partnering with some of the biggest global tech innovators, including PARSIQ, HumanSTAR, B2BinPay, Globitex, Aprobit, and Hancom.

The Crystal platform added even more blockchain coverage in 2020, Crystal now covers 96% of coins in terms of market cap share. Not only that, in 2020 Crystal evaluated more than 1 billion cryptocurrency transactions risk-assessed by VASPS on the platform, in keeping with FATF requirements for transactional anti-money laundering checks.

Continued commitment to transparency and security

While the business grows, revenue increases and partnerships expand, the Crystal Blockchain analytics team remains committed to continued investigative reporting into market dynamics.

Darknet Use and Bitcoin — A Crypto Activity Report by Crystal Blockchain

This report by Crystal Blockchain analytics reviews the use of bitcoin by darknet entities. The report analyzes darknet interactions with exchanges and other entities throughout the first quarter of 2020 and compares it to historical darknet activity from the past three years.

2020 Report on Fund Sources for Dormant Bitcoin Addresses

Crystal Blockchain is interested in analyzing fund sources for addresses like dormant bitcoin addresses, as this can help law enforcement agencies when making varying assumptions in cases where funds were received by entities from these “silent” addresses.

Report on Security Breaches and Fraud Involving Crypto 2011-2020

Cryptocurrency crime is growing in parallel with cryptocurrency markets. In this report, you can explore the largest incidents of stolen funds involving cryptocurrencies that have occurred over the last ten years, taking into account the way the incident happened and the volume of funds stolen.

Report on the Geography of Cryptocurrency Transaction Fund Flows 2013-2020

Updated quarterly, this is a report on current and historical international blockchain transaction flows. The Crystal Blockchain analytics team has completed a detailed analysis of bitcoin transactions between 455 international exchanges from 70 different countries, from 2013-2020.

ETERBASE Exchange Security Breach Investigation – September 2020

The Crystal analytics team investigated the security breach at Slovakian exchange ETERBASE where hot wallets were compromised and $5.4m worth of crypto was reportedly stolen. Check out the latest platform “how-to” video that explores the flow of stolen funds to various entities.

Increasing regulatory and legislative developments drive the roadmap

The 2020 FATF Report on Virtual Assets Red Flag Indicators of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing has fast become a standard guideline for regions globally as they standardize regulations for cryptocurrencies. FINTRAC Canada has adopted similar risk indicators. The 5th AML Directive for cryptocurrencies has also played a big part in regulatory progress in the EU.

This latest Crystal article outlines practically when and how VASPs need to employ the services of crypto AML and KYT compliance software to adhere to the FATF risk indicator guidelines.

The New York BitLicense turned five years old this year. It was the first crypto license of its kind, and several other crypto licenses have been developed since. We’ve taken a look at the various licenses and other regulatory developments available internationally for service providers today.

Important compliance updates to Crystal analytics platform in 2020

There were a number of regulatory guidance updates in 2020, and the Crystal team worked rapidly throughout the year to make our analytics solution easier to use from the perspective, of compliance, particularly when it came to the FATF Red Flag Indicators for ML involving crypto.

Via predictive analytics and data science, Crystal enables compliance officers to monitor potentially suspicious transactions, transactional patterns, anonymous activity, sender and recipient data, the provenance of funds, and potential geographical risks related to transactions.

In 2021, Crystal plans to add 4+ newly supported blockchains to the platform. We continue to follow regulatory updates and adapt our product for AML compliance, while also updating product usability for compliance teams from the traditional finance segment.


Get in touch if there are any features you’d like to suggest to the team, or if you’d like more information about the platform at [email protected].

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