In the case of cryptocurrencies, abuse increases with use, according to Europol, which also noted that blockchain technologies give law enforcement a new way to combat crime. The law enforcement organization in Europe claims it can assist in the investigation of money laundering networks.
Understanding Cryptocurrencies Is Vital to Tackling Organized Crime, Europol Says
Following a recent meeting with cryptocurrency experts, financial investigators, regulators, and business representatives, the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) has concluded that the growing use of cryptocurrencies across borders and industries is accompanied by rising abuse, new types of crime, and money laundering.
At the agency’s headquarters in the Netherlands, the 6th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies recently took place. The joint Working Group on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies of the Basel Institute on Governance sponsored the two-day conference with the aim of fostering cooperation among participants in the investigation and prosecution of crimes involving cryptocurrencies.
The use of the appropriate tools, according to speakers, can “offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate organized crime and money laundering networks and to recover stolen funds,” according to a press release from Europol. It emphasized the importance of increasing knowledge and expertise in the field of cryptocurrencies for combating crime and money laundering.
According to Europol, law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and the private sector are putting a lot of effort into staying ahead of those who attempt to misuse cryptocurrency assets. The agency emphasized the tightening of EU regulations and the impending rules intended to ensure that virtual currencies like bitcoin are treated equally to other assets in terms of preventing money laundering. This is also easing the seizure and management of crypto funds, the police authority added.
In addition, Europol noted that investigators are using blockchain-based technology to track money flows, which has enabled them to expose more “traditional” criminal organizations and money laundering networks in addition to scammers and hackers. According to the agency, “private companies are innovating quickly to provide the tools and analytical capability to trace funds laundered across multiple blockchains using different obfuscation techniques.”
Over 1,700 people from 119 countries attended the most recent Europol crypto conference, where speakers included representatives of the European Union’s institutions like the European Parliament, blockchain forensics and asset recovery firms like Chainalysis, and law enforcement officials from several European and non-European nations like the United States and South Korea.
The event follows important developments toward regulating Europe’s crypto space. This summer, key EU institutions and member states made a deal on the Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulatory package after reaching an agreement to adopt a set of anti-money laundering rules for cryptocurrency transactions.