The use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities

Cryptocurrencies came into limelight when the world’s first virtual coin, Bitcoin was launched in 2009 by a group of people under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. It was the time of the global recession, and the world economy was at its lowest. Bitcoin was introduced as a methodology that facilitated payment settlement through a decentralized ledger system or in simple words as well call it the blockchain technology. Studded with an array of unprecedented features such as high-end security, transparency, immutability, low cost, and super fast speed, cryptocurrencies and blockchain became an integral part of the financial system in a decade’s time.

Some of the biggest names from the finance industry, banking, and other industrial domains started exploring the possibilities in cryptocurrencies, thereby laying the foundation for a spectrum of innovations and developments. Cryptocurrencies are gaining popularity in the field of online gambling and sports betting as well. To know more about the use of crypto in the gambling sector, you can visit sportsbettingnews.today. As the crypto sector evolved, it grabbed the attention of not just the industrialists but also became a hotshot space for fraudsters and scammers. Malicious programmers manage to sneak into the blockchain network by tricking the owners and then empty their digital wallets easily. We have seen multiple small and big scams in the crypto world, which further raised a question on its security and immutability. Apart from the dwindling of assets, cryptocurrencies are fast becoming a favorite tool for criminal space. The market is flooded with crypto coins like Monero, Zcash, and Dash, which offer their customers the highest privacy by keeping their identities anonymous during the trading. 

How is bitcoin used for illegal activities? 

Bitcoin has widely been used for channelizing criminal activities around the world. It has been considered to be one of the safest means for fraudsters and scammers to execute their illegal operations. There are several instances where Bitcoin has been used to frame illicit activities, such as:

  1. Scammers hack user accounts or inject malware software in their system, causing security breaches. The users are locked out of their accounts. The fraudsters then demand a hefty ransom from the owners in Bitcoin as the transaction remains anonymous. A similar attack was executed in Europe named WannaCry, in which the attackers dwindled thousands of dollars of Bitcoin easily before being knocked down by the agencies.
  2. Sometimes the attackers lure people through promising promotions or advertisements. They demand crypto wallet address details from the customers promising them to send their rewards thereupon. One of the biggest issues with Bitcoin is that the transactions cannot be reversed or canceled after processing. The owners lose their holdings even before they understand the fraud.
  3. Falling in the trap of false ICOs is another form of security concern. Companies pool in funds from people in the name of ICO, allot them tokens, and then vanish from the market overnight. Such scams have been cursing the industry for long.
  4. At times people share their private keys with their friends or close ones in trust. However, when this information gets passed on to others, it becomes susceptible to attacks.
  5. Some Bitcoin exchanges attract customers by charging low transaction fees on credit card processing. Once the processing is completed, the owners do not receive any Bitcoin. There is no refund, and the money gets lost.

How can Bitcoin be used more safely? 

  1. Avoid sending Bitcoin to strangers. When transferring funds to a known person, make sure you are transacting with the genuine person and not an imposter.
  2. No matter how close a person is to you, never ever share your private key or the seed phrase with them.
  3. Do not log into suspicious emails without checking the URL and the email address you are being directed to. Make sure the site uses SSL connection, and the URL starts with ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ before clicking the email link.
  4. Always go through the whitepaper of the new projects you are willing to invest in. The objectives and the name of the supporters should be given special emphasis before investing in the ICO.

The Elliptic Enquiry On XRP

Recently, the leading blockchain analytics firm providing crypto-asset risk management, Elliptic, revealed that $400 million worth of XRP is being used for illegal operations. The firm reviewed the XRP network and discovered that a total of 0.2% of XRP transactions are illegal. The findings gave a major jolt to the crypto industry as XRP is the third-largest crypto coin in terms of market value currently.

Conclusion

Cryptocurrencies were created to work as an alternative solution to the traditional payment settlement systems. It promoted paperless, transparent, speedy, and economical method of sending and receiving money which cannot be touched or seen. The use of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities gained momentum over time when people finally found loopholes in their system. By being vigilant and cautious, one can safeguard their crypto assets easily. The industry is booming and is likely to prosper in the coming years. Cursing it for being used by fraudsters can be quite harsh, as this happens with other currency systems as well. So, people should invest in cryptocurrencies by giving special attention to security.

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