Japan has seen a massive rise in the cryptocurrency-related money laundering cases as more than 7000 cases were reported to the police in 2018 alone.
According to the National Police Agency’s statement on Thursday, the country has seen a ten-fold jump in such crimes as, between April and December 2017, the police only registered 669 cases.
The sudden rise in the crime reports was boosted in 2018 as the Japanese authorities made it mandatory for the cryptocurrency exchanges to report any suspicious transactions which might be linked to the illegally obtained cash.
Due to the anonymous nature of digital coins, they gained huge popularity among criminals especially for cyber extortions and illegal activities in the dark web.
The Japanese police detailed that among 7,096 suspicious transactions, some users with different names and birth dates shared the same ID photo, while others appeared to log into their accounts from overseas even though their listed addresses were in Japan.
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Moreover, combining the financial transactions related to money laundering and other abusive cases, Japan has registered 417,465 cases in 2018, compared to only 17,422 reports in the previous year. Out of the total, 346,014 of the cases involved banks and other financial institutions, while 15,114 cases involved credit card companies.
The authorities of the country assured that it is revamping its crime-busting methods by training specialists in data analytics and also exploring artificial intelligence (AI) technology to pro-actively detect illicit trades by analyzing the patterns of the crimes.
Crypto Friendly Nation
Japan is one of the most crypto friendly jurisdictions in the world. After the overnight ban of crypto exchanges in China, Japan became the top country handling crypto trades and transactions.
However, the island nation also witnessed a few major setbacks in the sector as in 2014, Mt. Gox, one of the first established crypto exchanges, shut its doors, leaving millions in clients’ funds in jeopardy. The refund process is still ongoing and is ladened with controversies due to some shady practices by the trusty.
Again in 2018, the sector was shaken by the attack on Coincheck which resulted in the theft of $530 million worth cryptocurrencies. The particular attack created a still in the industry as the country’s watchdog tightened its grip to fill any business or technological slack in the crypto exchanges.
In January this year, Coincheck received an operational license from the Japanese regulator and has resumed full-fledged service of the trading platform.