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Digital currencies increased organized crime, Australian law enforcers think

30 August 2017 21:00, UTC

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) believes that thanks to cryptocurrencies, the criminal organizations received new opportunities and expanded their activities. This is what the recent report of this organization states: “Virtual currencies, such as bitcoin, are increasingly being used by serious and organised crime groups as they are a form of currency that can be sold anonymously online, without reliance on a central bank or financial institution to facilitate transactions.” True, but if an investor wants to facilitate a financial operation without bank controlling it, this does not necessarily mean this investor is a criminal. After all, this is why cryptocurrencies became popular in the first place.

The report further mentions, however, that cryptocurrencies are often combined with other various methods of anonymization, like Darknet platforms akin to Silkroad and Valhalla Marketplace. On a different page, the ACIC mentions ransomware threat and that ransom is mostly demanded in bitcoins. Surprisingly, cryptocurrencies are somehow used in criminal activities related to the nature: “Native vegetation clearance and water theft have previously been recognised as additional environment crime types unique to Australia. Serious organised crime involvement in environmental crime in Australia is currently unknown, with individuals and smaller networks more commonly reported. Technological developments including encrypted communications, online marketplaces and use of bitcoin currency continue to enable crime in this sector.” “Virtual currencies are used by criminals for money laundering and in exchange for illicit goods” – another statement shows that the Australian law enforcement recognizes that it will have to adapt to this situation.

Overall, the authors of the document do not seem to imply that cryptocurrencies (or, as they call them, virtual currencies) should necessarily be forbidden, but they are clearly unhappy with these new opportunities the creators of digital currency technologies provided to criminals.