According to blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis, ransomware payments in crypto totaled more than $602 million in 2021, with average payments of $118,000, or 34% more than in 2020.
Chainalysis discovered that their 2020 totals announced last year were undervalued at US$350 million, and has since revised its predictions to over US$692 million.
The number for 2021 is likewise projected to be underestimated, and it will eventually surpass the total for all crypto ransomware payments ever made.
Conti, DarkSide, and Phoenix Cryptolocker extorted at least US$180 million from victims last year, making them the top three highest ransomware payments.
According to the estimate, 56 percent of ransom money would be sent to three large international crypto exchanges, one Russian exchange, and two cryptocurrency mixing businesses by 2020.
Ransomware is increasingly becoming a tool for attacks in geopolitical conflicts, according to Chainalysis, with Iran having the most suspected links with ransomware strains, followed by Russia, China, and North Korea.