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Bitcoin and Blockchain: A Russian Money Laundering Bonanza? - Newsweek

Published 1 year ago

Bitcoin and Blockchain: A Russian Money Laundering Bonanza? - Newsweek

Financial Newsweek via newsweek.com

And it’s not just attracting cybercriminals—the Kremlin wants to get in on the cryptocurrency revolution by issuing state-backed such as bitcoin, work on a technology known as blockchain, a decentralized network of synchronized online registries that track the ownership and value of each token. Virtual currencies are also a potential bonanza for money launderers, online blackmailers and cybercriminals—especially in Russia. Related: A Russian accused of using bitcoin to launder $4 billion is indicted by a U.S. jury The Kremlin has long been wary of cryptocurrencies, which are technically illegal in Russia—yet the government recently signaled it’s changing its stance. Though the entire sum of cryptocurrencies in the world remains under $100 billion, a long way off the estimated 10.2 trillion U.S. dollars, the idea of undermining America’s dominion as owner of the world’s chief reserve currency appeals to Putin, who recently called for the BRICS nations “to overcome the excessive domination of the limited number of reserve currencies.” The Russian Central Bank is also exploring the use of cryptocurrency to help regulate the country’s notoriously corrupt banking system, with dubious financiers frequently making loans to fake companies, then closing down, leaving the government to return depositors’ money. It’s the third reason for Russia’s interest in virtual currencies that has international law enforcement agencies worried: their use as money laundering tools. Virtual currencies “are a potential nightmare for investigators,” says one former U.S. law enforcement official with experience in Moscow, who asked for anonymity because of his ongoing consulting work for government clients. The U.S. Treasury and the Russian Central Bank have announced plans to regulate the market, though it's not clear how new rules would control virtual currency trading conducted outside their national jurisdictions. Coin spectator is an automated news aggregation service. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. Images and text owned by copyright holders are used in reference to and promotion of those respective parties. Read in Full

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