The privacy and absence of middlemen in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain have been blessings, no doubt. It has helped to make transactions easier and has eliminated high charges that go to these middlemen.
However, for cybercriminals, it has been more than a blessing.
It has become an advantage, a way to steal and extort without getting caught. Only this year, a company in Nigeria received a mail from suspected hackers after their website ‘crashed’ for the third time, asking for 10,000BTC. Blockchain security company, CipherTrace has announced that $4.3billion has been lost to hackers and other cybercriminals. On the 12th of August 2019, the United Nations said it is investigating North Korea for using cyber-attacks on 17 countries to fund an illegal nuclear program. It said that the cyberattacks were carried out against financial institutions as well as cryptocurrency exchanges and users.
Bitcoin appeared to be the most popular digital currency for the illegal activities, while the largest single incidence of loss to have hit the crypto world is the PlusToken scheme where at least $2.9billion was rumored to have been lost by both investors and users.
How can this risk of using crypto for criminal intents be mitigated?
One major solution given overtime has been the introduction of some level of regulation. This is one of the reasons why Facebook’s Libra has come under so much scrutiny ever since a date for its launch was announced. Introduction of some form of loose regulations may help to stem crypto-related crimes.
Alternatively, there might need to be some form of monitoring. This may lead to the introduction of middlemen, a feature that the Blockchain technology has tried to eliminate. These middlemen do not have to be humans: software or robots should work. Stricter monitoring of transactions using Blockchain can help to reduce crime using the technology.
As the crypto world continues to grow and expand, hopefully, easier ways to stop crime from hampering its growth would be explored and introduced. This has to happen sooner rather than later.