The debate over whether cryptocurrency is on the right or wrong side of the law with regard to criminal activity, goes on unabated. But recent developments seem to indicate that the scales could be tipping in favour of the digital coins – but only after the event. This is because criminal bitcoin transactions are recorded in detail.
Law enforcement and intelligence agents are getting to realize that, while the currency might well don black hats in enabling criminals, its white hats are far bigger when it comes to catching the criminals once they have carried out the crime. It’s all in the attention to detail built into the records that form a big part of the cryptocurrency blockchain system.
It makes it quite easy for wrongdoers to see it, and use it, as a way to channel money, whether that’s in order to fund a crime or launder the cash generated by one. But the crypto system, unlike human beings, doesn’t take time off when it comes to recording every last detail involved in every transaction carried out using it. And, while small misdeeds or immoral purchases might slip through unnoticed, like small purchases of marijuana for personal use, the big guys are going to have a much harder time getting away with their actions.
No Place to Hide for Criminals
One of the prime examples of cryptocurrency leaving criminals no place to hide involves the Russian interference with the US election. Digital finance, used to pay servers, allegedly enabled the 12 Russian intelligence officers to hack the Democratic National Committee. This made cryptocurrency the main culprit in the eyes of both the media and politicians, a scapegoat big enough to overshadow other issues, including security lapses in the DNC.
However, the tables seem to have turned. The indictment against the Russians a few days ago has revealed that bitcoin was indeed used to enable the transactions, but the cryptocurrency’s blockchain didn’t hide their trail. And this was despite attempts by the intelligence officials allegedly involved to make their path as difficult as possible to follow. Instead it led the investigators from the US straight to Russia, a task which would have been more difficult if the hackers had used another method of online payment.
At the end of the day, it seems cryptocurrency, like other online money channels, could make overstepping the legal line easier and safer for criminals, committing serious crimes using digital currency may not prove to have a good ROI for them.