The very thin line between bitcoin and crime

“FBI Agents Arrest Bitcoin Gun Buyer in Sting Operation”

“Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme Operator Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud”

“Child sexual abuse websites reported to be accepting bitcoins”

 

These are just some of the headlines you’ll see about bitcoin being association to crime.

I’m pretty sure most of us are quite tired or bored by all the news about bitcoin’s devaluation. How about bitcoin being used in crimes?

I should say it’s really disturbing how bitcoin has been widely used nowadays by criminals to perform illicit activities.

In the annual report released by the Internet Watch Foundation in April 2015, it discussed pedophiles’ alleged purchases of child pornography images using bitcoin. It’s not surprising, we should say.  After all, the digital currency possesses a couple of characteristics that can be easily exploited by criminals.

Most notable is its decentralized nature. This means that bitcoin can be traded without the intervention of a middle party or a central authority. This characteristic can be tricky. For someone ignorant enough to think he’s safe to purchase banned substances online using bitcoins without being caught, then he might sooner or later find himself in big trouble.

Recent convictions and investigations performed by law enforcement officials show that bitcoin transactions can actually be traced. There are some elements to the digital currency’s design that can be used to trace people who’ve been using it illegally. Not to mention, bitcoin exchanges are also legally obliged to keep detailed records of customers to ensure that they obey with money laundering policies.

Whether or not these criminal activities have largely contributed to bitcoin’s huge decline, that’s one of the areas that need to be seriously considered.

One thing I would want to highlight is the association of bitcoin to child pornography. Literally, both are still in the developing stage. Both has yet to mature and grow to unleash some hidden talents and characteristics. But what happens if they’re both prematurely exploited? The result is an ultimate destruction.

I’m pretty sure that Satoshi Nakamoto never thought about how bitcoin can be used illegally. If he did, the advantages might have been too overwhelming to the extent that any disadvantages thought can be virtually negated.

Ideally, bitcoin is supposed to serve well those who don’t have access to banks. It’s supposed to be a perfect option to those who want to transfer money easily. However, in an imperfect world that we have, it’s a sad reality that bitcoin’s just too easy to abuse. It’s also too sad to think that there are a lot of innocent children being exploited in the process.

 

Whatever intervention is needed to stop all these, they need to be carried out as soon as possible. Stricter measures should be rolled out as well when it comes to performing online transactions using digital currency. Hopefully, our beloved Satoshi Nakamoto is reading all the news, so he can make the necessary modifications to his greatest invention.

Hopefully, by then, we’ll see some major developments on how bitcoin fares in the market.

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