$7.8 Billion Lost in Crypto Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes in 2022: Report

TRM Labs revealed that most of the scams happened on the TRON blockchain.

A digital hacker looking back at his hoard of gold coins in a digital glitchy desert.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • TRM Labs study revealed the blockchain that attracted the most scammers in 2022.
  • Billions in crypto were spent in dark markets buying and selling illegal drugs.
  • Bitcoin was surprisingly “clean” when it came to scamming.

Last year was horrendous for the crypto industry. Numerous companies went bankrupt, and digital asset prices plummeted.

But there’s an even more scary number coming from last year. That number is related to scams like Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

$7.8 Billion Stolen in Crypto Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes

Unfortunately, 2022 was an incredibly profitable year for crypto scammers and grifters. According to TRM Labs, in its recent report, users lost $7.8 billion in crypto Ponzi and pyramid schemes in 2022.


40% of the $7.8 billion lost was stolen on the TRON blockchain, mostly via Tether (USDT). In 2021, the figure was around 17%.

TRM Labs also revealed that $1.5 billion was spent in dark markets specializing in illegal drugs, mostly in Russian-language dark markets. $3.7 billion was stolen through hacks and exploits. $2 billion was stolen on cross-chain bridges.

Most money was lost on Ethereum (68%) and Binance Smart Chain (19%), compared to Bitcoin, which accounted for just under 3% of all hacks. In 2016 that number was a staggering 97%.


Curiously enough, TRM Labs found that 92% of transactions linked to terrorist financing happened on TRON. Bitcoin was the exclusive blockchain for such activities in 2016.

On TRON, most fundraising events among terrorist groups were denominated in USDT. In fact, the usage of USDT in such illegal activities rose 240% compared to 2021.

On the Flipside

  • There’s no way to check the methodology of the study. As always, such studies should be read with caution.

Why This Matters

Studies like the one by TRM Labs show how much scamming there is in the crypto industry. Users should always do their own research before deciding where to invest or whom to trust.

Read more about a recent ConsenSys crypto survey:

Majority Have Heard of Crypto but Not of Web3: ConsenSys Survey

Read more about what Paradigm thinks of crypto:

Has Paradigm Replaced Crypto with AI? Co-Founder Explains VC Firm’s View

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Arturas Skur

Arturas Skur is a cryptocurrency news reporter at DailyCoin who covers Web 3.0 domains, DeFi, and Ethereum Layer-2s. With over five years of experience in journalism and public relations, Arturas brings his critical thinking and analytical abilities to deliver insightful news stories. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, playing with his dog, and reading.