7th December 2023 – (New York) The recent surge in cryptocurrency prices has reignited hype and speculation around these digital assets. However, beneath the surface lurks a dark underbelly of criminality enabled by the anonymity of cryptocurrencies. Far from an innovative technology, cryptocurrencies in reality serve little purpose beyond facilitating money laundering, terrorism financing, fraud, and cybercrime. For these reasons, cryptocurrencies should be banned outright before they irreparably corrupt the global financial system.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has emerged as a voice of reason by calling for cryptocurrencies to be shut down entirely. In his words, “crypto has no intrinsic value and regulators will regulate the hell out of it.” Dimon also rightly stated that cryptocurrencies are primarily utilized by criminals and represent a threat to society that governments must eliminate.
The data paints a sobering picture. According to a EUROPOL report, virtually all criminal profits, from cybercrime to drug trafficking, are now laundered using cryptocurrencies. Criminals rely on cryptocurrency tumblers, mixing services, OTC brokers and other techniques to sever the link between dirty crypto and its illicit origins. Money laundering networks even advertise their crypto-washing services on the dark web.
Fraud represents over half of all identified cryptocrime, bilking innocent victims through Ponzi schemes, fake investments, and outright theft. Criminals have stolen hundreds of millions in crypto by exploiting vulnerabilities in cryptocurrency ledgers and exchanges. Ransomware hackers extort billions in cryptocurrency from businesses and institutions by encrypting their systems until Crypto assets- The Wild West Crypto needs governments to guide its growth can be monitored with great care by data analytics. Other parts of the blockchain system can also be examined more closely, such as the wallet addresses of traders-including who else dips into those wallets.
Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies have also proven awfully convenient for people engaged in illegal activities. There are now several different strains of malware designed specifically to mine cryptocurrency illicitly. Encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram have increasingly become havens for criminals to communicate and orchestrate crimes using cryptocurrency for payment.
Bitcoin Maven, a 68-year old woman from California, was sentenced to prison for money laundering related to Bitcoin. Over a two-year period, she engaged in 197 illegal transactions exchanging Bitcoin – worth over $9.5 million at the time of her arrest – for cash for criminals. Those criminals included dark net drug dealers and even helped launder Bitcoin that was stolen in Europe. These criminal schemes are only possible due to the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions.
Cryptocurrencies enable rampant illicit commerce on hidden dark web marketplaces, where billions in crypto annually pay for illegal drugs, firearms, child abuse material, and other contraband. They have become the principal payment mechanism for cybercriminals when procuring illegal services and infrastructure. The private sector itself acknowledges that over 20% of cryptocurrency transactions involve illegal activities, with anti-money laundering controls still inadequate despite regulatory improvements.
Faced with these sobering facts, how can any responsible government allow cryptocurrencies to continue enabling financial crime on a massive scale? Contrary to specious claims about cryptocurrency’s benefits, its primary real-world use case is uncontrolled criminal commerce completely out of reach from authorities. This lawless Wild West environment makes cryptocurrencies the currency of choice for terrorists, dictators evading sanctions, and rogue states like North Korea.
Governments must wake up to the profound threats posed by cryptocurrencies before it is too late. Their anonymous, decentralised nature directly undermines regulatory oversight and monetary control. Far from enhancing freedom, cryptocurrencies enable criminality while making it exceedingly difficult for law enforcement to bring perpetrators to justice. Terrorism, drug dealing, child exploitation and rampant fraud thrive thanks to the unchecked nature of crypto transactions.
Some argue increased regulation can mitigate these risks, but this is wishful thinking. Illicit activity is not a periphery use case of cryptocurrencies – it is their core purpose. More regulation simply displaces crime to jurisdictions with weak oversight. There is now a sophisticated ecosystem of mixers, tumblers, OTC brokers and other services dedicated to obscuring crypto’s criminal origins. This cannot be regulated away.
There is no redeeming cryptocurrencies from their fundamental flaws. The financial risks they pose far outweigh any arguable benefits. As Jamie Dimon incisively stated, the only legitimate use of cryptocurrencies is by criminals to advance their lawless goals. It is incumbent on governments to heed the warnings of financial experts like Dimon.
For the good of the international financial system and rule of law, national governments should collaborate to implement a worldwide ban on cryptocurrency trading and mining. This decisive action is urgently needed to eliminate the scourge of crypto-enabled criminality that has grown unchecked for far too long. Banning cryptocurrency is imperative to sever its link with crime, protect innocent victims, and safeguard the integrity of the global financial system.