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RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Thursday, rising by 0.95 percent to $21,525 as of 7:55 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,673 rising by 3.24 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

NFTs worth $100m stolen in 2022

Cryptocurrency hacking firm Elliptic said on Wednesday that as of July, over $100 million worth of non-fungible tokens has been stolen this year, Reuters reported.

An NFT is a blockchain-based asset that represents digital files, including images, videos, and text.

With crypto-rich speculators hoping to profit from rising prices, the market surged in 2021. Nevertheless, since the bottom fell out of cryptocurrency prices in May and June, NFT sales and prices have plummeted.

As the NFT market declines, scams continue to abound, with July seeing the highest number of NFTs stolen on record, according to London-based Elliptic.

NFT thefts in 2022 will account for 23 percent of security compromises via social media.

Each scam earned thieves $300,000 on average, Elliptic said. Since not all crimes are publicly reported, the number of NFT thefts is likely even higher, the report added.

According to Elliptic, only $8 million was laundered through NFT-based platforms. However, almost $329 million worth of funds in the NFT market came from services designed to hide funds’ origin, such as cryptocurrency mixers.

North Korea’s Lazarus Group has been linked to stealing $540 million in April through NFT-based services, Elliptic said.

Iran seized 9,404 crypto mining devices since March

The head of Tehran Electricity Distribution Co., Kambuz Nazerian, said on Monday that Iranian authorities have discovered and seized 9,404 illegal cryptocurrency mining devices in Tehran since the Persian calendar year began on March 21, according to Bitcoin.com.

Inspectors discovered the mining equipment in different districts of the Iranian capital, he said.

Over the past few years, Iranian authorities have regularly reported finding illegal cryptocurrency mining machines throughout the country. These unauthorized cryptocurrency mining operations were often located in schools and mosques that receive free or heavily subsidized electricity, Bitcoin.com said.

The first official import order worth $10 million was successfully placed with cryptocurrency, revealed Alireza Peymanpak, vice minister for industry, mine, and trade.

He added: “By the end of September, the use of cryptocurrencies and smart contracts will be widespread in foreign trade with target countries.”

(With inputs from Reuters)