Criminal Uses of Cryptocurrency

Interesting article on CNBC regarding criminal uses of cryptocurrency. They make two significant points. First, the percentage of criminal transaction volume on the Bitcoin blockchain has dropped as legitimate transactions have moved in:

Although hard numbers on criminal activity in digital currencies are difficult to pin down, Shone Anstey, co-founder and president of Blockchain Intelligence Group, estimates that illegal transactions in bitcoin have fallen from about half of total volume to about 20 percent last year.

“Now it’s significantly less than that,” he told CNBC earlier this month, noting that overall transaction volume has grown globally.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/dark-web-finds-bitcoin-increasingly-more-of-a-problem-than-a-help-tries-other-digital-currencies.html

An anonymous DHS official suggested that criminals are moving into currencies like Monero and Ether:

A U.S. Homeland Security official confirmed to CNBC in a phone interview on Thursday that criminals are “looking more closely at other currencies like monero and ethereum.”

I am skeptical of the latter, though, since the Ethereum blockchain is just as open as the Bitcoin blockchain.

 

Author: Michael O'Connor

Michael O'Connor is an attorney in Quinn Emanuel's Washington, DC office. Prior to joining the firm, Michael clerked for the Hon. D. Brooks Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and worked for several years at another major international law firm. He has dual degrees in Computer Science and Biology from Penn State University. Michael's practice includes intellectual property litigation, antitrust litigation, and data security and privacy. Michael advises clients on legal planning for data breaches, their obligations for safe handling of personally identifiable information, and the legal implications from emerging technologies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the blockchain. He has applied his technical training to patent cases involving semiconductor design, systems programming, and mobile device architecture. He has worked on multiple cases at the intersection of patent and antitrust law. Michael represents clients in cases before federal courts throughout the country, as well as before the International Trade Commission.