Money Laundering with Bitcoin is not as easy as before due to its complexity and high risk. Statistics from United Nations show that money laundering costs the global economy around $800 billion to $2 trillion per year. Although the regulations are much tougher than before, still over 90% of money launderings go undetected. In this article we are going to talk about money laundering and cryptocurrency.
Technology plays a significant role in between. Not only criminals leverages technology for their illegal purposes, but also fintech companies and government authorities use it to identify transactions related to frauds and other illicit activities.
Money Laundering and Cryptocurrency; Bitcoin
Here we want to answer the question that is Bitcoin really the preferred form of payment for illegal activities, especially money laundering?
Bitcoin became rapidly famous by using it as a medium of exchange in Silk Road. In fact, Silk Road was a darknet marketplace, which users could buy any illegal drugs, weapons etc. anonymously. However, Silk Road shut down by FBI, Bitcoin remained famous to have anonymous transactions.
Mainstream media also keep creating content related to illegal activities, which are performing through using Bitcoin. The reason for those mainstream media content is that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous. By looking deeper to this state we understand that Bitcoin is the preferred method for criminal activities such as money laundering.
In order to have an answer to above question, Bitcoin blockchain is transparent. It’s possible to trace transactions on it. As a result, it’s not as easy as early days to use it for illegal activities. But, money laundering could be a different story.
Money Laundering and banks
Cash payment is one of the oldest and common ways to transfer money. The truth is that banks are also facing with money laundering issue. People do not just use cryptocurrency for money laundering purposes. They use bank transfers as well.
A British investigator journalist from BBC says, when money laundry comes to banking system, they talk about asset-management structures and tax beneficial schemes. It means that banking system is also facing with money laundering issue.
Financial institutions are constantly fined for their failure due to the lack of uphold strong anti-money laundering laws. The HSBC bank $881 million money laundering could be a good example. In fact, it was just one of money laundering stories that could find the way to media. Even Netflix created a documentary about it.
When it comes to money laundering we cannot look at the issue from one point of view. Although cryptocurrencies have advanced technology, they are not the only option to use for money laundry purpose. These days many governments and authorities accepted bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a commodity and security. As a result, there are clear regulations for cryptocurrency market. So, it’s not as easy as before using cryptocurrencies for illicit activities.
As we mentioned above, banks are also facing with the same issue. However, they are strict in this field and have anti-money laundering regulations, still people use it for this purpose.
The cryptocurrency fans and users hope, that more governments accept cryptocurrencies as form of money and remove the stigma that crypto is only use for illegal purposes.