Cryptocurrency LIVE: £300million seizure sends stark message to ‘bad actors’ | UK | News

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Alexandra Clark, Sales Trader at digital trading platform GlobalBlock was speaking after police revealed they had seized a total of £294million in digital cash as a result of two separate raids in the last three weeks. In the first, they landed a haul valued at £114million, and on Tuesday another worth £180million.

A 39-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of money laundering after the first haul was discovered and was interviewed under caution over the £180million discovery before being bailed to a date in late July.

Nevertheless, Ms Clark dismissed any suggestion that the raid might represent a wide crackdown.

She told Express.co.uk: “Whilst there is a nefarious element within the crypto space, fiat currency remains criminals’ preferred financial tool by a wide margin and is still the biggest source of money laundering in the world.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled plans for a digital pound – but not a cryptocurrency – in April (Image: GETTY)

Dogecoin Bitcoin

Dogecoin and Bitcoin are two of the best-known cryptocurrencies (Image: GETTY)

“To put things into perspective, criminal activity represented just 0.34 percent of all cryptocurrency transaction volume in 2020, (equivalent to roughly $10 billion worth of transfers), down from 2.1 percent in 2019 (roughly $21.4 billion).

“Given the ease of tracking nefarious transactions using chain analysis software, this number will continue to fall, particularly as the sector matures and institutional adoption grows.

“After a study conducted by the Dawes Centre for Future Crime at UCL looking at cryptocurrency fraud risk, it was found that the most high-risk crimes are ransomware attacks, especially with people being forced to work at home.”

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Elon Musk

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk tweets frequently about Dogecoin (Image: GETTY)

Unlike cash, which is anonymous and untraceable, blockchain technology utilised by cryptocurrencies was pseudo-anonymous, so tracking nefarious transactions on the blockchain was easier than might be supposed, Ms Clark explained.

She said: “GlobalBlock take their AML and KYC processes very seriously and adopt best practices as standard.

“For example, using this software, we are able to input any wallet address, see where every single coin within the wallet has been, come through or come from and receive an aggregated score based on this.

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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty (Image: GETTY)

Money laundering

Cash is still king when it comes to money-laundering, pointed out Alexandra Clark (Image: GETTY)

“So, ultimately, if coins have been through the dark web or somewhere illicit, we can see that from the scoring and will reject the coins. “

With specific reference to the recent seizures, she said: “Opinions on how consequential the seizure of crypto funds is for the digital asset market vary but, by demonstrating to bad actors that there is nowhere to hide, I am confident this is a positive step for the industry.

“Further to this, by re-injecting seized crypto back into the system (rather than removing them from the marketplace altogether) law enforcement agencies are demonstrating that they recognise them as a genuine asset.”

Bitcoin hotspot

A Bitcoin hotspot in a shopping mall (Image: GETTY)

Speaking after Tuesday’s raid, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Graham McNulty said: “While cash still remains king in the criminal world, as digital platforms develop we’re increasingly seeing organised criminals using cryptocurrency to launder their dirty money.

“Whilst some years ago this was fairly unchartered territory, we now have highly trained officers and specialist units working hard in this space to remain one step ahead of those using it for illicit gain.”

He added: “The detectives on this case have worked tirelessly and meticulously to trace millions of pounds worth of cryptocurrency suspected of being linked to criminality and now being laundered to hide the trail.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are based on calculations using banks of computers (Image: GETTY)

“Those linked to this money are clearly working hard to hide it.

“Our investigation will stop at nothing to disrupt the transfer and identify those involved.”

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Dogecoin are digital currencies in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralised system using cryptography, rather than by a centralised authority, making it almost impossible to counterfeit or double-spend.

Many rely on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger that is enforced by a disparate network of computers rather than a central bank.



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