Bitcoin Low Risk For Money Laundering, High For Cybercrime: UK Treasury

A recent report from the UK Treasury regarding monetary policy in the country has been released, providing a summary of analysis over a number of financial topics. The paper, expressing the views of the National Crime Agency (NCA), deals with Bitcoin and its usefulness in crime.

Low risk of laundering

In spite of the widespread opinion that Bitcoin is mostly being used for money laundering (Larry Fink for example), the report indicates that the risk for money laundering is actually relatively low. According to the report:

“The NCA has assessed the risk of digital currency use for money laundering to be relatively low; although NCA deems it likely that digital currencies are being used to launder low amounts at high volume, there is little evidence of them being used to launder large amounts of money.”

While the reality is that some money laundering is occurring, the report details that the amount is low and poses little risk for the UK crime body.

Empowering cybercrime

While the money laundering risk is relatively low, the usefulness of Bitcoin for cybercrime is comparatively higher, according to the report. First, cryptocurrencies provide a simple way for criminals to demand payment. Second, they facilitate ‘crime-as-a-service’ methodologies among criminals. Third, they provide a method for laundering the proceeds of cyber crime.

The report concludes that adoption of digital currencies will result in greater opportunities for crime usage. The conclusion of the report suggests:

“These risks are expected to grow as digital currencies become an increasingly viable and popular payment method. As the number of businesses accepting digital currency payments grows, there is an increasing risk of criminals using the currencies to launder funds without needing to cash out into non-digital, or ‘fiat’ currencies.”


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