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 a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Penn State. He teaches in the areas of cyber law, including data security & privacy, cybercrime, and emerging technologies. His scholarship focuses on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, including securities regulation, money laundering, and other topics. He joined Penn State Law from private practice at the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, where he was resident in the Washington, D.C., office. Before that, he clerked for the Hon. D. Brooks Smith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and worked for another major international law firm. While in private practice, Michael advised 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 applied his technical training to patent cases involving semiconductor design, systems programming, and mobile device architecture. He also worked on multiple cases at the intersection of patent and antitrust law. Michael represented clients in cases before federal courts throughout the country, as well as before the International Trade Commission.​