Crypto Exchanges, Payment and Wallet Firms Join EU Police to Fight Privacy
About sixteen major cryptocurrency exchanges, payment processors and digital wallet providers have joined the EU’s law enforcement agency for an event about preventing money laundering. The three-day conference on digital currencies and cyber crime began on Tuesday in the Hague.
“Tracing and Attribution”
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), formerly known as the European Police Office and Drugs Unit, said that the event would primarily be about the “tracing and attribution” of cryptocurrencies. Attendees will also focus on methods to thwart services for hiding the source of funds, presumably such as coin mixers. Besides the representatives of the crypto companies and Europol, the event also includes people from the authorities of a number of European countries.
A spokesperson for Europol told the Financial Times that attendees at the conference would discuss “the abuse of virtual currencies for illegal activities,” and ways to “enhance the capabilities of law enforcement.”
Tackling Money Laundering
According to the report, some would have wanted the agency to create a centralized ledger of addresses that the authorities want blocked, so that the service providers will be automatically notified and won’t help their owners exchange crypto to fiat. However, this is already being done privately inside the industry with major players collaborating with companies that developed tools specialized for this task (for example Chainalysis). As Eric Demuth, CEO of Bitpanda, explained: “You have a bird’s-eye view from above so you can see every transaction ever done. Every exchange has it, it’s a no brainer. People trying to launder money with bitcoin are three years too late.”
Besides this, the agency has been able to successfully fight money laundering without the need for such a centralized system of forbidden addresses. Back in March, Europol announced it had busted an international gang that hacked bank ATMs and laundered its illicit gains with prepaid cards linked to cryptocurrency wallets which were used to buy goods such as luxury cars and houses.
Should the privacy of all crypto exchange and wallet users gained through coin mixers be sacrificed to fight money laundering? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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