Crypto Payments Fuel Surge in Online Piracy

Cryptocurrencies are becoming a popular payment method for pirated online streaming content, according to a report by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

Tracking the Illicit Flow

Chainalysis partnered with Nordic Content Protection (NCP) to track crypto addresses linked to illegal streaming. Between 2019 and 2023, these addresses received approximately $24 million in crypto. The surge accelerated in early 2022 and continued through 2023.

Michael Lund, NCP’s security manager, emphasizes that the tracked addresses represent only a fraction of the problem. “Television piracy is a global issue, costing legitimate services billions in lost revenue,” he said.

Overall Illicit Crypto Transactions Decline

Despite the rise in crypto payments for piracy, Chainalysis reports that overall illicit crypto transaction volume decreased in 2023 for the first time since 2020. In 2023, illicit addresses received $24.2 billion in crypto, down from $39.6 billion in 2022.

Cautionary Note

Chainalysis cautions that the actual volume of illicit crypto transactions in 2023 may be higher, as only known illicit addresses were accounted for.