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Let’s face it: the risk of money laundering, which is often cited in statements on cryptocurrencies by numerous central banks across many countries does not affect the average person. The overwhelming majority is not “terrorists” and doesn’t seek to procure illegal drugs nor deal in weapons or human trafficking.
Let’s face it: the risk of money laundering, which is often cited in statements on cryptocurrencies by numerous central banks across many countries does not affect the average person. The overwhelming majority are not “terrorists” and do not seek to procure illegal drugs nor deal in weapons or human trafficking.
But what if this notorious “money-laundering enabling” digital currency could be used by the same people who are in power for their own benefit? What if all these incredible opportunities promised by the new Bitcoin economy are turned against us, the public?
It is no secret that in Russia many problems are resolved with good, old-fashioned bribes. Other popular methods include under-the-table (black) salaries, embezzlement and kick-backs. This was common practice until January 15, 2014 when the State Duma introduced a serious of revisions to the current law, aimed at preventing the laundering of revenue streams, while attempting to better control financial operations and flow of information in telecommunications networks.
But it’s one thing when a school teacher receives a gift certificate from a student. It’s another when, all of a sudden, the mother-in-law of a Ministry of Sports official has a mansion built for her in Rublyovka.
Both of these instances can be called bribery, though evidently of different degree. But let’s remember that in the world of Bitcoin, the transaction amount does not affect the flat transaction fee rate, which is almost near-zero.
Thus, filing suitcases with cash, forging fingerprints, passport information, and setting up offshore accounts can become quite burdensome. Such was the case, until Bitcoin.
So, if you are a government official (regardless of whether in Russia, Nigeria or any other country) and you want to take a bribe without getting caught, these instructions are for you. For starters, let’s look at the benefits you will receive with a Bitcoin bribe.
Now let’s look at how to actually go through the process of taking bribes in Bitcoin. Let’s pretend that you are once again an ethically-challenged government official.
As the popular Russian aphorism goes - “Since it’s impossible to earn all the money, some of it will have to be stolen.” But we know that every joke contains some element of truth, so just how much of this element is there?
Below is a map of the world showing the level of corruption for 2013 from Transparency International based on the Corruption Perception index, where Russia sits at spot 127 out of 175. The closer the color is to maroon, the higher the level of corruption in the given country.
Based on the data in the corresponding Wikipedia page:
In 2006, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center performed a study, as a result of which the attitude towards bribers softened and a large number of the population does not even consider corruption to be a crime, while over a half of the people surveyed had personal experience with bribes.
Now, let’s take a look at another map. Just in the past few days, Russia leapfrogged past China into second place by the number of transactions per unit time. Thus, Bitcoin appears to be more popular in Russia than it seems.
It was never easier to receive a bribe than it is now. So when a policeman stops you and flashes his QR-code after flashing his badge, don’t be surprised.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not intended to facilitate corruption and are used in a satirical manner to point out the hypocracy of the proposed regulations, bans and fees places on Bitcoin related activities.
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