Cryptocurrency and Crime

The rise of cryptocurrencies has brought along with it increased concerns over its potential illicit use. When it comes to crypto-crime there are two major areas. One side of the coin is the ability to use cryptocurrency to help facilitate traditional crime, whether that be funding terrorism or helping drug traffickers transfer funds anonymously. The other side of the coin is concerned over the security of cryptocurrency, the ability of hackers to steal currency, this could mean the of stealing account information or unauthorized transfers. Both sides of the coin are of major concern to governments and consumers alike around the world, and each brings with it their own set of difficulties. Cryptocurrencies are a useful tool for criminal activity because of the inherent safety and anonymity it can provide. These benefits cryptocurrency can afford is leading to increased interest by governments to finds way to police it.

Russia to Develop Watchdog

The Russian finance monitoring service has decided to fund the development of an analytical tool designed to track cryptocurrency transactions in order to tackle this problem of crime. Rosfinmonitoring, the Federal Financial Monitor Service, has invested almost 200 million rubles to develop this crypto-tracking tool. It is hoped this tool will allow the watchdog to monitor the information passed through Bitcoin wallets and create a comprehensive report on all transactions. This, it is believed, will allow the watchdog to gather the names of users including their financial details, bank accounts, cards, etc., in order to help tackle crypto-crime.  

However, many believe that cryptocurrency tracking tools, such as the one already in use in Denmark and what Russia hopes to develop will amount to very little. Andreas Antonopolous, in particular, believes that Bitcoin, and currencies alike, cannot be tamed and nor should they. In the grand scheme of things, crypto-crime is a small spec and resources would be better applied elsewhere.

Thailand Prepares for Crypto-crime Wave

Thailand turns their sights towards the use of cryptocurrency in more traditional crime. A collaborative study between the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), and the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, points towards a growing criminal use of cryptocurrency.  Although the crimes do not involve the use of cryptocurrency, like in the case of hacking an account, they are used to facilitate monetary transactions for criminal activity. Southeast Asia and Thailand especially have seen a dramatic increase in cybercrime. This can include the use of the dark web for the sale of illegal goods, such as drugs and firearms, to the distribution of child pornography and even ransom.

Although the current levels of crypto-crime in Thailand are low they are looking to protect themselves in the coming future. Gangs, in particular, are of great concern to Thailanders. In order to brace themselves for the future, Thailand has set up a dedicated cybercrime committee. With their focus on developing innovations and bolstering current infrastructure, it is hopeful that they will be able to cope with the coming wave.

What do you think the future hold for cryptocurrency and the criminal elements in it? Leave your comments below!

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