By CCN Markets: A senior UN official, Neil Walsh, claims that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have made the task of fighting money laundering, terror financing, and cybercrime tougher than ever due to the relative anonymity they allegedly offer.
According to Walsh, the cybercrime and anti-money laundering chief at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cryptocurrencies have also made dismantling of the “global sexual exploitation networks” harder, ABC Radio reports.
Huge thanks to @LindaMottram for having me on #abcPM from Parliament House #Canberra 🇦🇺 to discuss @UN__Cyber @UNODC_AML work to counter online child sexual abuse #CSEA and criminal use of #cryptocurrencies. https://t.co/lDV198bNau pic.twitter.com/aHvhJrX8c7
— Neil Walsh – UN (@NeilWalsh_UN) August 29, 2019
KYC and AML procedures key to fighting crypto-funded crime
At the same time, Walsh also warned that “the scale of online child sexual abuse is much bigger than most people would realize”:
“In the past when we looked at the really big high-threat areas like kids getting abused online it had to be paid for. And now with the use of cryptocurrencies, it’s exceptionally difficult for investigators to track that and try to manage that risk down.”
As a solution, Walsh proposed that governments force Bitcoin exchanges across to strictly observe know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in order to “know who it is [buying and selling crypto] and who is moving that value.”
Bitcoin the scapegoat?
While Walsh has claimed that cryptocurrencies have made fighting child sexual exploitation online “exceptionally difficult,” there have been encouraging successes in the recent past.
Just this month, the creator of a Tor-based members-only website that exploited children was sentenced to 35 years in jail. Other participants in the crypto-funded child exploitation enterprise network also received substantial jail sentences.
These successes have demonstrated that Bitcoin should not be made a scapegoat, as effective law enforcement can deter crimes – even when they’re funded in cryptocurrency.