According to information provided by Lilita Infante, a special agent with the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), currently, only 10% of the cryptocurrency transactions are used for illegal activities. Infante provided this data during an interview, published on Bloomberg’s website, in which the agent states that five years ago the percentage of criminal acts involving cryptos was 90%.
Infante noted that illegal activities are carried out mainly through the dark web, where illegal products are sold in cryptocurrency, making this practice an increasing trend in the last year. Thus, the report indicates that it is criminal organizations, such as drug cartels, that increasingly use digital assets in their operations, ranging from money laundering to cross-border transactions in crypto coins.
For the official, this is because these organizations that operate outside the law find it cheaper, faster and safer to carry out operations with cryptocurrencies than through the traditional banking system. However, this situation is going to change.
In this regard, Infante states that both the Bitcoin (BTC) platforms, as well as other cryptos’ underlying blockchains, become resources that make it easier for agents to track transactions and identify the people involved.
Privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, like Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC), are not liquid enough and, although they are more anonymous than Bitcoin (BTC), we still have ways to track them down, too.
Lilita Infante, Special Agent, DEA, United States
The data presented by Lilita Infante contrasts with previous studies regarding cryptocurrency transactions for illegal activities
The information provided by this DEA agent can be contrasted with the results of some reviews on the use of cryptocurrency for illicit activities. Among them, we can highlight an investigation carried out by the European Parliament last June, which concluded that there are hardly any public documents and confirmed cases of terrorist financing involving cryptos.
Contrary to what the DEA agent said, European parliamentarians do foresee a long-term advance in cybercrime, due to the development of private cryptocurrencies and greater adoption of cryptos and underlying blockchain technologies linked to social networks and online platforms.
However, the European Parliament’s study agrees with Infante and other research conducted in 2017 by New York University Law School that criminal organizations use digital assets to sell/buy goods on the dark web and to transfer funds and securities through decentralized platforms.
Jackson Bey was born and raised in Lethbridge Alberta but moved east when he was 22. Apart from running his own consulting firm. Jackson spends his time canoeing the many lakes of Ontario. As a financial journalist Jackson has published stories for CBC Business Online, as well as Buzz Feed and Motherboard. As a contributor to Billionaire 365, Jackson mostly covers markets and trade.