Criminals continue to flock to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The appeal of pseudonymous currency allows for intriguing business models. A new report by Armor Defense paints a bleak picture in that regard. Its researchers claim users can pay a small amount of Bitcoin to receive vast sums of laundered fiat currencies. This is a very worrisome turn of events which will only paint an even worse picture of Bitcoin in the years to come.
The new Money Laundering Scheme
For quite some time now, there have been numerous allegations as to how Bitcoin is used for money laundering. While evidence to back up such claims is still hard to come by in most cases, criminals tend to favor cryptocurrency for various purposes. In the latest turn of events, criminals now offer vast sums of fiat currency in exchange for small amounts of Bitcoin. More specifically, this conversion scheme will only fuel money laundering concerns regarding cryptocurrencies.
While it is not entirely surprising to see this type of behavior, it hasn’t been officially documented until now. The Armor Defense team claims they have found evidence to back up their claims. It would take an average of $800 in Bitcoin to receive transfers of up to $10,000 to a bank account or via Western Union. For those unaware, credit card payment fraud to Western Union is still a problem in 2019, despite the company’s best efforts to ensure it can’t happen.
Not the Only Business Model
As is usually the case, the research looks at other ways criminals try to make money online. Albeit the use of Bitcoin in all of these instances is almost guaranteed, the report doesn’t seemingly focus on that aspect. Instead, they see a noteworthy increase in core items and services being offered by criminals in exchange for very little money. That is not the trend people are actively hoping for, yet no one can deny the rise in popularity of Bitcoin among criminals globally.
Of the services noting an increase in popularity are the sale of financial data, identity packets, and DDoS attacks -on-demand. Additionally, there is also the sale of stolen goods – primarily smartphones and computers – to exploit kits, and even having hackers modify one’s personal credit report to beef up the numbers a bit. It is evident that the lines between finance and online crime tend to blur quite regularly, regardless of the involvement of cryptocurrencies.
Can Bitcoin Escape This Fate?
It will be very difficult for Bitcoin to move away from being a “currency used primarily by criminals”. Despite the growing number of legitimate use cases for the world’s leading cryptocurrency, there are far more concerns regarding how criminals try to abuse these systems for their personal benefit. Whether it is to sell services or directly launder money, the appeal of Bitcoin should not be underestimated. It seems unlikely that anything major will change in this regard, which will continue to tarnish the reputation of Bitcoin even further.