Crypto crime is at an all time high. As technology advances, so do the ways in which criminals operate. Digital assets have become increasingly popular among criminals due to their anonymity and lack of regulation. However, this has led to increased scrutiny from law enforcement agencies and government bodies.
The use of cryptocurrencies in crime
Digital coins have been used in a variety of criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and ransomware attacks. The anonymity of crypto makes it difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace the transactions, making them an attractive option for criminals.
One of the most well-known examples of digital coins being used in crime is the Silk Road case. The Silk Road was an online marketplace where users could buy and sell illegal drugs using Bitcoin. In 2013, the founder of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
Another example is the WannaCry ransomware attack that occurred in 2017. The attackers demanded payment in Bitcoin in exchange for unlocking the infected computers. Although the attackers were eventually identified, the use of crypto made it more difficult for law enforcement agencies to track them down.
Crypto in crime – What is the truth?
The reality of crypto crime is not what Main stream media houses have portrayed. Many of these houses have focused on crypto’s use in terrorism, money laundering, and tax avoidance and completely left out perpetrators like Sam Bankman Fried. The reality however is a whole different story.
Instead of major headline-grabbing scandals like FTX and 3AC, veteran cybersecurity expert Eun Young Choi, the agency’s first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) department, appears to be primarily focused on relatively smaller issues like social media scammers, darknet misuse, and online fraud – an activity that’s rarely discussed openly, but which exists as a sort of background hum for anyone spending time on Crypto Twitter and Discord.
Despite the fact that these scams typically only affect a single victim, they can still be quite lucrative. Together with other agencies, NCET raked in more than $112,000,000 for thwarting six such scams based in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that investment fraud resulted in the theft of $3.31 billion from individuals in 2022, with digital coins -related schemes accounting for more than a third ($2.57 billion) of this amount.
The proliferation of confidence games — which require bad actors to cultivate long-term relationships and develop trust with their marks — has tainted crypto’s reputation in a manner far worse than mere financial loss.
The impact of crypto on crime
While cryptocurrencies have made it easier for criminals to operate anonymously, they have also made it easier for law enforcement agencies to track their activities. Blockchain technology, which is used to record digital coins transactions, provides a transparent record of all transactions. This makes it possible for law enforcement agencies to track the flow of funds and identify suspicious activity.
In addition, governments and regulatory bodies are starting to take action to regulate the use of digital coins. In the United States, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued guidance on the use of digital coins in criminal activity. In Europe, the European Union has proposed regulations that would require cryptocurrency exchanges to register with regulatory authorities.
Market outlook for 2023
Despite the increased scrutiny from law enforcement agencies and government bodies, digital coins are expected to continue to grow in popularity. According to crypto market analysts, the global DeFi market is expected to grow from $1.11 trillion in 2023 to $6.716 trillion by 2025.
However, the market is also expected to face challenges. One of the biggest challenges is regulatory uncertainty. As governments and regulatory bodies continue to grapple with how to regulate there is a risk of in digital coins creased volatility in the market.
In addition, there is a risk of increased cyberattacks on crypto exchanges and wallets. Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and as the value of digital coins continue to rise, they will become a more attractive target.
Digital coins have become an increasingly popular tool for criminals due to their anonymity and lack of regulation. However, the use of cryptocurrencies in crime has also led to increased scrutiny from law enforcement agencies and government bodies.
While cryptocurrencies are expected to continue to grow in popularity, the market is also expected to face challenges. Regulatory uncertainty and the risk of cyberattacks are just two of the challenges that the market will face in the coming years.