In late June, Scotland Yard seized more than $158 million in Bitcoin as part of a money-laundering investigation. London’s Metropolitan Police said that total was more than double the amount of cash seized in all of 2020 and is the biggest crypto take in UK history.
Such seizures will likely become more difficult in the future, Joshua Scigala said. The CEO of DeFi lending protocol TheStandard.io and founder of bitcoin/gold exchange Vaultoro said blockchains will become more private, which makes following the money more difficult for law enforcement.
“Right now, the vast majority of money laundering is done in fiat currency, because it’s anonymous,” Scigala said. “Cryptocurrency like bitcoin will be used more for financial crime in the future, but detection of those crimes will come back to good old-fashioned police work rather than simply following the money. Why? Because blockchains are becoming more and more private to a point where following it will be impossible.”
While not ideal for law enforcement, Scigala said it will prevent the misuse of crypto in many ways.
“This is actually a positive thing, because it’s dangerous that strangers can tell how much money you have. Having no financial privacy leads to kidnappings and business competitors knowing someone’s sources and markups.
“This is why financial transactions need to stay private. In the future, police forces will have to devote more resources to chasing these kind of crimes as tracing funds will become harder.”
Bitcoin’s design makes it a great crypto for law enforcement to track, trading app TabTrader’s CEO Kirill Suslov said.
“Bitcoin has one of the most sophisticated forensics services among all other crypto, making it ideal for tracking an illicit usage,” he explained. “National risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing performed by the Home Office showed that cash is a high risk for money laundering and terrorist financing, while cryptoassets are low-to-medium. So cash seizures should really make the headlines, not cryptocurrencies.”