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Crypto’s dark role in the US opioid epidemic

Blockchain analytics suggest cryptocurrencies may be fueling the US opioid epidemic. Over 90% of Chinese fentanyl suppliers accept cryptocurrency payments.

  • Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic published a study linking cryptocurrencies with the spread of fentanyl, the leading cause of death for 18- to 45-year-olds in the US.
  • 90% of Chinese suppliers for the synthetic opioid chemical ingredients accept cryptocurrency payments.
  • Crypto wallets used by these companies have received more than $27mn, enough to produce fentanyl pills with a street value of roughly $54bn.
  • The fentanyl epidemic has driven US life expectancy down to 76.4 years, a low not seen for the past 25 years.
  • Regulators in the EU should introduce limits on leveraged bets across crypto markets in order to limit risks posed to financial stability in the broader economic system.
Crypto’s dark role in the US opioid epidemic
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