The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating 130 cases related to cryptocurrencies. The information was revealed by a supervisory special agent of the FBI, Kyle Armstrong, recently at New York’s digital-asset industry conference. Armstrong heads the virtual-currency initiative at the FBI, which was established almost three years ago.
The cases have been “threat tagged” to digital currencies and include crimes such as illicit drug sales, human trafficking, ransomware attacks, and kidnapping.
Crimes through cryptocurrency transactions on the rise
According to Armstrong, the bureau has thousands of such cases and this revelation is just a small piece at this point. At the CRYPTO Evolved conference the FBI agent hinted that the agency has found that there has been a significant rise in the illegal activity caused through digital currency payments and the bureau is currently focusing on cases related to opioids. The FBI agent said that approximately 10% of drug traffickers use illegal virtual marketplaces for purchasing drugs online.
Reports of extortion schemes in some parts of the U.S. have also surfaced where the criminals involved have tried to use cryptocurrencies. According to Armstrong, FBI has a neutral view towards digital tokens and that they have both pros and cons. He said that the distributed ledger underpinning blockchain technology makes tracing virtual currencies much easier as compared to tracing cash. However, legal investigations more often lead to a dead end because of the anonymous nature of transactions.
Cryptocurrency continues to be used for illicit activities
At the Crypto Evolved conference on Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and other virtual currencies, government enforcement agents and regulators discussed the role of policies in the growing crypto industry. The discussions revealed that the digital coins are being used for fulfilling illicit activities, which experts fear might drive away investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Trading and Markets deputy director, Gary Goldsholle said, “I do feel like there’s a real, growing awareness of how regulation is going to help this market.” According to a survey of investors and crypto executives conducted by Foley and Lardner, a law firm recently, 84% investors want the federal government or states or both to come out with regulation for new coins.
So, even if criminal activity can affect the trust of investors in crypto trading, regulation will most probably attract them towards it.