“The conference comes months after Rob Wainwright, the agency’s director at the time, warned that around 3 to 4percentt of £100bn in illicit proceeds in Europe were laundered through cryptocurrencies, and expressed worry that this proportion was growing “quite quickly,” writes the FT.
The newspaper stresses that because the cryptocurrency market has significantly risen many hackers have started attacking it. Indeed, one of Asia’s largest exchanges, Bithumb was subject to another of the latest crypto heists happening this year. More than $30 million in assets were stolen from the exchange. This prompted Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin, to write a pessimistic tweet which begins by saying “Another day, another hack.”
“Europol said on Tuesday that the conference would focus on the “tracing and attribution” of digital coins, as well as ways to counteract services that make it easier to disguise where a cryptocurrency might have come from,” says the FT.
It also adds that some people believe that agencies like Europol need to devise “a centralised system that flags cryptocurrency wallets linked to nefarious activities to major exchanges so that they can block the owners from exchanging those funds for hard cash.” However, the newspaper also highlights that a number of experts have noted that the market has already started tackling the illegal activity itself.
Thus, Eric Demuth, co-founder and chief executive of Vienna-based exchange Bitpanda, pointed out that”larger exchanges were already monitoring the movement of “tainted” funds via a small number of third-party specialists that have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years.” He added that those who want to launder money using Bitcoin are quite late to the party.
Yet Europol is still expected to establish ways for the European Union police force to keep an eye on privacy-based cryptocurrencies like Monero, Dash, Zcash, Bitcoin Private and Verge should they be used for illegal purposes.
It is noteworthy that previous reports have shown that less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions are illicit.