Australia Blames Bitcoin for Rise of Organized Crime

Australian authorities express concern that Bitcoin exchanges assist in facilitating criminal activities.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has found the culprit for the growth in organized crime in Australia – cryptocurrencies and online banking services. According to a recent report conducted by ACIC, major criminal organizations that are involved in money laundering are costing the country over $28.34 billion annually.

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Australian authorities have expressed concern that e-commerce businesses and Bitcoin exchanges assist in facilitating criminal activities, as they lack transparency regarding transactions and encryption. Justice Minister Michael Keenan talked about how Bitcoin has become a household name in exchanges around the world: “Bitcoin, which can be traded anonymously and is as good as cash, is traded now on most significant international exchanges.”

The aforementioned report follows new legislation that altcoins must submit to the same disclosure laws as banks and the more traditional exchanges. Another relevant incident had been the charges made against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia over widespread violations of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws.

The report further conveyed the rise in money laundering via online betting websites, a large number of which are owned by global crime syndicates. Tabocorp, the largest betting firm in Australia, was fined $35 million for anti-money laundering violations earlier this year.

Drugs, however, are still the kings of the criminal castle despite ACIC’s considerable accusations, followed by credit card fraud and identity theft, industries which are estimated to be worth $411 million and $1.74 billion respectively.

Recently, a connection between cryptocurrencies and human trafficking was also established. As Bitcoin offers anonymity, there is an added difficulty in deciphering whether an advertisement is promoting consenting sex workers or victims coerced into slavery.

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