A Look at the Dark Side of Crypto
In its early days, Bitcoin was a heavily involved yet unwilling participant in an online marketplace known as Silk Road. Making headlines in 2013 when it was shut down by the FBI, more than one billion dollars was generated as the result of the illegal sales, most of which were bought with Bitcoin. With many buyers and sellers feeling out of luck and higher scrutiny placed on criminal activity online, these users had to get smart. Today navigating the waters of the darkweb is virtually impossible to an outsider. Though Silk Road has been gone for many years, purposely fraudulent and illegal transactions from guns to drugs to human trafficking happen online every day, most usually powered by crypto.
Large scale ventures comparable to organized crime activity has also taken advantage of crypto’s unique offerings. The same features that appeal to every user of crypto also appeal to the bad guys and the exploitation of crypto is as old as the concept of crypto itself. Money laundering is a staple among organized crime activity, and utilizing crypto to streamline that essential, tricky process has changed the game. Instead of going through business fronts, shell corporations, and fraudulent businesses, all one needs to do to “clean” their dirty money is turn it into crypto. One and done.
Though every effort is made it crack down on cyber crime, following the trail of crypto is, by its very definition, a challenge. While not dangerous in and of itself, criminals can find a way to use almost anything illegally. With that said, the illegal activity using cryptocurrency remains still just a small portion of the overall transactions being made; truly there is nothing to fear from crypto but its use comes with big responsibility.