Bitcoin isn’t even close to being criminals’ favorite form of money laundering, according to a report from Messari. This information was in response to comments made by one Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary.
Fiat over cryptocurrencies
The company pulled information from both Chainalysis and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. According to this, fiat currencies are used 800 times more than Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to participate in money laundering. These activities, of course, occur on the dark web. That said, the numbers didn’t factor in money laundering in more traditional spaces.
This news is interesting, considering that Mnuchin said that cryptocurrency money laundering is a massive security issue:
“Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking. Many players have attempted to use cryptocurrencies to fund their malignant behavior. This is indeed a national security issue.”
The Secretary said this during a recent hearing where the head of Facebook’s Project Libra, David Marcus, was testifying in front of Congress. He blames criminals who purchase cryptocurrency more than anything else.
As CCN reports, these numbers also echo the results of a study conducted by Europol called “Why Is Cash Still King?” There, it was discovered that traditional money is the most common way to participate in money laundering. This is likely because Bitcoin transactions are, contrary to popular belief, fairly easy to trace:
“Although not all use of cash is criminal, all criminals use cash at some stage in the money laundering process … While the world is looking with concern at the possible misuse of virtual currencies by criminals, this report may seem somewhat unusual in that it is not highlighting a new phenomenon or an emerging risk…money laundering schemes detected by law enforcement are still largely characterized by traditional techniques, in particular, the use of cash.”