Speculators, Not Drug Dealers Dominate Bitcoin Trade
According to Lilita Infante at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the ratio of legal to illegal Bitcoin Trade has flipped. While traditionally, Bitcoin was used more by drug dealers and other entities on the dark web, but now it is more used by speculators.
When Infante started seeing Bitcoin first pop up in her cases at the DEA five years ago, her analysis showed that criminal activity made up more than 90 percent of the transactions in cryptocurrency. Now, according to her, illegal activity has gone down to 10% and the majority is dominated by speculative activity.
However, this doesn’t mean that criminals have stopped using Bitcoin. Infante said that the total transaction volume associated with criminal activity has increased since 2013. She is a part of the 10 person Cyber Investigative Task Force that focuses on the dark web and cryptocurrency related criminal activity and also collaborates with the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Infante commented on this change in an interview. She said,
The volume has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased. The majority of transactions are used for price speculation.
Her findings show that cryptocurrencies are not only used on the dark web, as assumed by many, however, it does show that the dark web is the one place where it is majorly used for actual purposes rather than just speculative transactions.
She further added,
It’s a double-edged sword for criminals though, as law enforcement is using blockchain technology to its advantage. Bitcoin and other blockchains are public and immutable, providing a valuable resource for agents to track transactions and patterns, and while wallet addresses once obscured users’ identities,not anymore.
Infante said that criminals will likely keep using Bitcoin, but that is fine by her. She said,
The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people.I actually want them to keep using them.
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