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March 30, 2024

Online Pirated Streaming Content Witnesses Surge in Crypto Payments Between 2019 and 2023: Chainalysis

By Conor Devitt

Crypto assets are increasingly being used to pay for pirated online streaming content, according to the blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis.

Nordic Content Protection (NCP), a television anti-piracy non-profit, partnered with Chainalysis to track crypto addresses connected to illicit streaming.


Total inflows to these addresses totaled approximately $24 million between 2019 and 2023, with a dramatic uptick beginning in early 2022 and continuing through 2023.

Michael Lund, NCP’s security manager, tells Chainalysis that the tracked addresses don’t represent the full scope of the problem.

“Television piracy is a global challenge and a significant threat in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas. We estimate that the number of users of illicit streaming services is in the hundreds of millions, leading to billions in lost revenue for legitimate services. This, in effect, leads to less tax revenue, fewer jobs, and poorer quality of content.”

Chainalysis noted earlier this year that overall illicit crypto transaction volume fell in 2023 for the first time since 2020. Last year, illicit addresses received $24.2 billion worth of crypto, compared to $39.6 billion in 2022.


In 2020, illicit wallets received only $9.4 billion worth of crypto. That number rose to $23.2 billion in 2021.

The blockchain analysis firm does caution that the actual volume in 2023 may be higher since only known illicit addresses were accounted for.

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