Dr. Craig S. Wright has said multiple times that fentanyl dealers in China are using BTC to launder money from their drug sales. Although this statement proved to be correct shortly after he first made the statement in 2019, it looks like Dr. Wright is right once again.
On July 17, the United States treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) published a press release saying that they have seized all “property and interests in property” of four narcotic traffickers in China that were laundering the proceeds from their narcotic sales through BTC to avoid currency restrictions and reporting requirements in China.
BTC-related crime is on the rise
A recent report from Crystal Blockchain found that “BTC continues to be a financial tool for darknet entities.” Even with an abundance of privacy coins and tokens, cybercriminals’ digital currency of choice is still BTC. The report found that BTC cash flows from darknet entities to digital currency exchanges and other darknet entities are on the rise, despite an increasing amount of digital currency exchanges implementing KYC and AML protections.
Why not a privacy coin?
According to Riccardo Spagni, a backup maintainer for the Monero privacy coin, criminals like those who compromised Twitter to promote a digital currency scam are interested in using BTC over privacy coins because it has brand recognition—everyone will recognize BTC and know where to buy BTC. However, if a cybercriminal asked for a privacy coin like Zcash, the individuals they are trying to defraud may not have Zcash on hand or even know where to buy it.
On top of that, BTC is much more liquid than most privacy coins, giving the cyber-criminal what can potentially be an easier avenue to liquidate their holdings than if they were using a privacy coin.
BTC is criminal money
Regardless of why cybercriminals prefer BTC, it is clear that BTC has a grim future. There is no development activity taking place on the BTC blockchain, transaction fees are too expensive to use BTC as a payment system, and block size restrictions prevent software engineers from building applications and services.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the only individuals who are actually using BTC are criminals, and they are doing so to obfuscate the path that their dirty money originated from and travels through.
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