From the dawn of the time that cryptocurrencies came into existence, their capability of facilitating anonymous transactions without having to go through central authoritative bodies have allowed criminals to rely on it as a haven. A lot of black markets and illegal activities found themselves being easily operable due to the anonymous and decentralized cryptocurrencies. The biggest selling points of Bitcoin became a way for them to thrive without fear of repercussions from authorities.
In fact, a lot of the early activity using the Bitcoin was associated with illegal activities. While it is a fact that illegal activities pertaining to the use of Bitcoin have significantly reduced, it is still pertinent to point out that it’s a lot more difficult to seize Bitcoin and the likes. Here is a look at a few of the instances where central authorities stopped illegal activities with regards to Bitcoin.
The Silk Road
One of the most significant busts in the cryptocurrency black market world was that of the Silk Road being closed down in the October of 2013. This was a website which was operating as a proper black market in the online realm.
At its peak, the Silk Road website was the one place facilitating a lot of the illegal activities in the world. People were transacting Bitcoins in order to pay for drugs and other illegal substances and activities. It took the FBI two years of investigating thoroughly in order to catch up with the founder of the website, Ross Ulbricht, and bring him to justice.
The closure of Silk Road and the arrest of Ulbricht saw the confiscation of over 170,000 Bitcoins and that accounted for over a percent of the total Bitcoin being transacted throughout the world.
The Case in Bulgaria
The latest and probably one of the best busts of illegal activities in the cryptocurrency world can be attributed to Bulgaria. This saw the Bulgarian police work in tandem with the SELEC to stop organized criminal activity from finding out a loophole for taxation systems throughout Europe. They were trying to pay off corrupt customs officers in several countries so that they could infect the systems with viruses that would allow them the capability of avoiding tax payments.
Their preferred method of payment for the operation was in Bitcoins for obvious reasons. They deemed authorities incapable of tracking the cryptocurrency’s movement and went on with their operation before being busted by the joint forces of Bulgarian police and the Southeast European Law Enforcement Center. Over 200,000 Bitcoin units have been confiscated as a result of this very impressive bust.
The confiscation of cryptocurrencies has started to happen more regularly because of international collaboration between authorities. The question about what was to be done with the Bitcoins confiscated from those who conducted illegal activities was a bit perplexing for authorities until the US took the initiative. They started to conduct cryptocurrency auctions in order to sell the cryptocurrency units which had been confiscated.
The USMS and the US DoJ has since resorted to conduction cryptocurrency auctions in order to sell off the confiscated cryptocurrencies and gain millions from the cryptocurrencies which were being used to conduct illegal activities. It seems like it might turn out to be good business for the authorities to be more proactive in busting illegal activities being facilitated by Bitcoin payments.
Charlie Shrem is a Bitcoin pioneer, a social economist and digital currency trader. His work in this field is legendary. In 2011, at the dawn of the crypto era, he founded BitInstant, the first and largest Bitcoin company. In 2013, he founded the Bitcoin Foundation and serve as its vice chairman. Since then, Charlie has advised more than a dozen digital currency companies, launched and managed numerous partnerships between crypto and non-crypto companies, and is the go-to guy for some of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. In short, he is the ultimate insider at the epicenter of the crypto universe.
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