It is rare to see a large government agency speak kindly about Bitcoin, yet today for the first time (ever, I think), the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have spoken out about Bitcoin stating that now, within the DEA’s remit, instances of Bitcoin being used within criminal activity have dropped. This is significant given that just five years ago, the DEA stated that 90% of cases investigated by the DEA also involved some sort of illegal activity funded by Bitcoin.
According to reports, new findings by the DEA state that less than 10% of investigations now find that Bitcoin has been used within criminal activities.
According to Cryptoglobe:
“Illegal use of the coin hasn’t actually dropped in raw terms – in fact it has increased substantially. The coin’s soaring use in speculation, however has seen the ratio change dramatically.”
Moreover, according to Lilita Infante, an agent for the DEA Cyber Investigative Task Force has said:
“The volume has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased. The majority of transactions are used for price speculation.”
So, it does seem that Bitcoin is no longer a primary tool for the facilitation of crimes, within the DEA remit. The biggest use of Bitcoin in crime is now through fraud caused by speculation.
You can see more for yourself, here.
An overall conclusion here is that Bitcoin is no longer dominating as an asset that is used to facilitate the trade of drugs, something that the mainstream media seems to latch on to.
What does this mean?
There are two things happening here, firstly, Bitcoin is becoming less anonymous so naturally, criminals will want to stray away from the technology. Secondly, Bitcoin is becoming saturated with speculation.
Moreover and most importantly, this is now starting to encourage the use of other cryptocurrencies by criminals, tokens like Dash and Monero that pride themselves through complete privacy and anonymity.
Is it good that crime is encouraging a flow of altcoins?
Well no, obviously not as crime isn’t notoriously very nice. The bigger picture though see’s this as an example of a decline in Bitcoin through an uprise in the popularity of altcoins.