According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2013, 90% of all bitcoin use cases were tied to criminal activity, whereas now 90% are accounted for legal financial transactions. Only in 10% of cases, we are talking about illegal activities.
Such statistics were shared with Forbes by an employee of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Lilita Infant. Just a few people in the world are better aware of this issue than she is.
The team, which includes Infant, specializes in investigating crimes in the cybersphere, in particular in dark web. The ten team members work closely with the Ministry of Justice. Among other things, they have long been following the illegal circulation of cryptocurrency.
It is worth noting that 10% of cryptocurrency operations today and five years ago are two big differences. In January 2014, when data on the volume of Bitcoin trading began to be published by the CoinMarketCap website, the intraday volume of transactions averaged approximately $ 50 million.
Now, this figure is $ 5 billion, so it’s no wonder why Infant also stated that the volume of illegal cryptocurrency transactions reached new heights. In particular, she said, that the volume of criminal cryptocurrency transactions in terms of dollars in recent years has increased significantly, but their share has decreased.
90% of the total volume of bitcoin transactions a few years ago was equivalent to $ 45 million, while 10% of the current volume is at least $ 500 million.
Of course, absolute numbers indicate that the volume of illegal cryptocurrency transactions has increased. At the same time, no one has the right to say now that bitcoin is used primarily by criminals.
On the other hand, Infant confirmed a well-known fact: for several years, Darkweb has been actively working with cryptocurrencies. Criminal operations include not only money laundering.
Strictly speaking, the criminals were the first to appreciate the advantages of cryptocurrency with their fast, cheap, reliable and confidential transactions. The criminals did use bitcoin at the time when the majority of law-abiding citizens asked how to spell the word “blockchain”.
Finally, Infant stressed that cryptocurrency wallets do not make criminals completely anonymous. Although a number of cryptocurrencies claim to be more confidential, the Drug Enforcement Agency agent says her department has ways to track transaction participants.
Every time criminals convert cryptocurrencies into fiat money, a “vulnerability in their activities” is created, said a US immigration and customs police officer (ICE).
On October 3, Matthew Allen, Assistant Director of the ICE – Internal Security Bureau of Investigations, spoke about the role of cryptocurrency in drug trafficking at a thematic meeting in the US Senate. In his speech, he noted:
On dark marketplaces and other non-indexable buying sites, they are often paid using cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Monero, etc.
He added that the Bureau of investigations had achieved quite good results in tracing criminals who use cryptocurrencies to launder the proceeds from the sale of drugs. Let digital currencies and facilitate the process of transfer of value, says Allen, the criminals are still changing them to Fiat and it is at this moment that they reveal themselves:
Whenever there is an exchange of money, there is a vulnerability in their activities.