Cryptos under surveillance – Financial and law enforcement authorities around the world are definitely not big fans of bitcoin mixing services or so-called „anonymous“ cryptos. Europol services explain that they are closely monitoring the activities related to these confidential block-chain transactions.
Bitcoin mixing: a puzzle for investigators
The European police authority Europol has just published a new report entitled „Internet Threat Assessment on Organized Crime“.
Not surprisingly, one chapter is devoted to cryptomoney, and its title is unequivocal :
„Cryptomoney facilitates payments for all forms of cybercrime. »
This sets the tone at the outset, and the rest is just as accusatory, especially for the mixing services that allow bitcoin transactions to be mixed to make them difficult to trace:
„(…) wallets offering privacy services using ‚coinjoin‘ concepts (for example, Wasabi and Samurai wallets) have emerged as a major threat, in addition to the well-established centralized mixers. »
Bitcoin loses ground on the darknet to the benefit of anonymous cryptos
Europol recognizes, however, that criminal activities now account for only a tiny proportion of transactions when compared to legitimate trade.
The report admits that while before 2013 „criminal“ transactions accounted for 20 per cent of the total, by 2019 they accounted for only 1.1 per cent of block trades.
Another change noted by the police department: while the Dark Web black markets relied almost exclusively on Bitcoin (BTC) until 2013, the supply has since diversified:
„(…) in recent years, the situation has changed. A growing number of markets have realized the advantage of offering several cryptomoney alternatives, including Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC) and Dash (DASH). While Bitcoin remains the most popular means of payment (mainly for its wide adoption, reputation and ease of use), the use of cryptos promoting anonymity has increased (…). »
Thus, the top trio of cryptomonnesses increasingly in vogue on the darknet would be, in order, Monero, Zcash and Dash. Europol acknowledges that all these cryptos can „constitute a considerable obstacle to law enforcement investigations“.
The cat-and-mouse game between police and criminals continues to grow, with criminals exploiting all the tools they have to hide their activities. However, some people believe that anonymous cryptomoney is not so evil, even in the case of money laundering.