Cryptocurrency: New Tool for Money Laundering

phishing, credentials, data-6573326.jpg

In recent years, cryptocurrency has exploded in popularity, with more and more people turning to digital currencies as a means of exchange and a store of value others are using it as a tool for money laundering. 

Cryptocurrency is a decentralized, digital asset often used as an alternative to traditional forms of money. It allows for fast, cheap and secure transactions without a central authority or intermediary.

While cryptocurrency’s decentralized and anonymous nature has many benefits, it has also attracted the attention of criminals looking to use it as a tool for money laundering.

Money laundering is disguising the proceeds of illegal activity as legitimate funds. It is a severe crime that allows criminals to profit from their illicit activities without getting caught. 

After the United state blocked Russia from using the SWIFT financial system, one of the core ways she could implement its war was by using crypto. According to Gravitas, Russia’s military wing has generated over 2.2 million dollars as donations for its war in Ukraine in cryptocurrency. 

It is significant as it poses a bigger question of how crypto can destabilize governments more sinisterly. 
 In the EndSar protest in Nigeria, crypto became the only option in keeping the protest going after the government froze accounts linked to the protest. 

Using cryptocurrency can make it easier for criminals to launder money because scammers can make transactions anonymously without a central authority.

In 2021, cybercriminals used crypto to launder 8.6 billion dollars, a jump of over 30% from 2020. 

One of the most well-known forms of money laundering using cryptocurrency is using mixers or tumblers. 
These online services allow users to send their cryptocurrency to a pool of funds, split it up and send it back out to several different addresses.

It makes it difficult to trace the source of the funds and allows criminals to conceal their illicit activities.
Another way criminals use cryptocurrency for money laundering is by converting it into fiat currency through an exchange. 

While exchanges are required to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations, it is still possible for criminals to use them to convert cryptocurrency into cash. 

Scammers can do it by setting up fake identities or using stolen identities to create accounts on exchanges.

Criminals also use cryptocurrency to buy and sell illegal goods and services on the dark web. The anonymous nature of the dark web and the use of cryptocurrency as a means of payment makes it a perfect place for criminals to carry out their activities without being detected.

The use of cryptocurrency for money laundering is a growing concern for law enforcement agencies worldwide. It is difficult to track and prosecute because of the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions. 

Cryptocurrency ATMs (Bitcoin ATMs or BTC ATMs) allow users to buy or sell cryptocurrency using cash or a debit card. 
They can be a convenient way for individuals to buy and sell cryptocurrency, especially for those who need easy access to traditional financial institutions or online exchanges.

However, like any financial service, cryptocurrency ATMs can also be exploited by scammers to propagate scams. 

Here are a few ways cryptocurrency ATMs could potentially be used to facilitate scams:

  1. Phishing scams: Scammers may use cryptocurrency ATMs to send phishing emails or texts to individuals, claiming to be from the ATM provider and asking for sensitive information such as login credentials or personal details.
  2. Card skimming: Scammers may attach card skimming devices to cryptocurrency ATMs to steal credit card information from users.
  3. Fake ATMs: Scammers may set up phoney cryptocurrency ATMs that look legitimate but are designed to steal users’ funds.
  4. Overpriced cryptocurrency: Some scammers may use cryptocurrency ATMs to sell cryptocurrency at inflated prices, taking advantage of inexperienced or unaware users.
Steps to combat Crypto crimes 

One of the most effective ways to combat money laundering using cryptocurrency is by implementing stricter regulations and compliance measures on exchanges. 

It includes requiring exchanges to perform thorough KYC checks on their users and to report suspicious activity to the authorities.

Law enforcement agencies use advanced technology, such as blockchain analysis tools, to track and trace cryptocurrency transactions. 

These tools can help to identify patterns and connections between transactions and can be used to build cases against criminals using cryptocurrency for money laundering.

In conclusion, while cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize the way we exchange value and conduct transactions, it has also attracted the attention of criminals looking to use it as a tool for money laundering. 

It is crucial for law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies to take steps to combat this problem and ensure that the benefits of cryptocurrency are not overshadowed by criminal activity.

Learn more on FTX, and the biggest scam ever. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *