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Why Crime Could Kill Crypto

Cryptocurrencies helped enable a cybercrime wave, placing them in the crosshairs of regulators.

6/19/2021 9:30:00 AM

Heard on the Street: The strongest argument against cryptocurrencies may be that they have become far too good at one thing—enabling crime

Cryptocurrencies helped enable a cybercrime wave, placing them in the crosshairs of regulators.

, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray compared the difficulties posed by the recent spate of ransomware with the challenge posed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.One problem for law enforcement is that, even when the cybercriminals behind them can be identified, thefts that once would have required exchanges of bags of money or suitcases of gold to pull off can now happen entirely in countries where the U.S. has no extradition treaty. The FBI

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was able to seize a portion of cryptocurrencythat Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware gang DarkSide but, because the gang is believed to operate in Russia, its members might be beyond reach.Another is that there is no easy way to beef up digital security to the point that hackers can simply be kept out of data vaults; the information protection systems we rely upon are too complex, and too pockmarked with vulnerabilities, for that.

Newsletter Sign-upWSJ Investing ChallengeA five-part course from WSJ columnists to introduce you to the basics of investing, delivered to your email inbox.PREVIEWSUBSCRIBEMaking it harder for cybercriminals to receive cryptocurrency payments, and thereby reducing the financial incentives for ransomware attacks, might help. Here, Mr. Wray’s comparison with Sept. 11 is telling. Following the attacks, the 2001 Patriot Act introduced an array of tougher provisions to the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act aimed at disrupting the financing of terror networks.

A blunt way to stem the problem would be to widely ban payment or trading in cryptocurrencies,as authorities in China have sought to do. But given the now-substantial financial stakes in them—cryptocurrencies have a combined value of $1.6 trillion, according to—it is hard to imagine there being the U.S. political will to do that. At least not as a first step.

But there are other steps U.S. authorities could take, and these might also diminish the viability of the use of crypto in commerce, or at least raise the cost of using it.One approach might be to make it harder to use or transfer cryptocurrency once stolen, much like suitcases filled with $1 million in cash are difficult to actually spend without getting noticed.

to adopt the same requirement for crypto that all businesses have when they are paid more than $10,000 in cash—reporting it to the Internal Revenue Service.Related VideoRansomware attacks are increasing in frequency, victim losses are skyrocketing, and hackers are shifting their targets. WSJ’s Dustin Volz explains why these attacks are on the rise and what the U.S. can do to fight them. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

Governments also could ratchet up monitoring responsibilities. A number of measures are already under consideration. Citing in part “national security imperatives,” the U.S. Treasury Departmentlast year proposedadditional vetting for cryptocurrency transfers to so-called “unhosted wallets” that aren’t associated with a bank or other regulated financial intermediary. The Financial Action Task Force, a global standard-setter for combating money-laundering, recently proposed new guidelines for expanding security requirements to a much wider range of crypto entities.

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Such measures could make a segment of crypto transactions even beyond bitcoin a little less anonymous and decentralized—a prospect that many advocates would be loath to see. Increased regulations could also make legitimate transactions more onerous, reducing cryptocurrencies’ appeal.

But the biggest risk to cryptocurrencies may be that such regulatory efforts won’t be effective in curtailing the dangerous acts cryptocurrencies have helped enable.In that case, the crimes might only become more heinous and severe restrictions on the use of cryptocurrencies more politically palatable.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal »

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Crypto is unstable and volatile. We need to ban banks, who enable for more crime To bad Powell can not counterfeit Bitcoin. What is important to remember is that 'the regulators' do not have the authority to regulate media of exchange. You mean crime goes down. Common misconception. bitcoin is evil and enormous pyramid schemes , wsj you are highlighted few things but there are too many things wrong with it!

Cash has never been used for crime🤣. YES. Yes true Thank God dollars don't do that

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And all these nerds setting up crypto bots on social media hoping people click their phishing links. The sad part is, millions do. Majority of people are ignorant, man . Literally fiat and gold has been used as instruments for crime for decades. A nation has even went to war with a middle eastern nation for it's gold.

Cash is still the greatest facilitating mechanism of illegal transactions Articles like this that are so one sided and ill informed are absolutely infuriating! Some good morning FUD g'day all Duh Wonder how many crimes are committed with US $$$$ CryptoEliteNews What is the relevance without mentioning the relevant fiat crime statistics or who is manipulating markets... Wall Street - CEO of Old FUD 🤡

When you see headlines like this, you know that the bank/govt DebtorSlaveTrade is being marched into insignificance by the ultimate power of crypto. AbolishCredit CreditForbearance IncreaseWealth EndPoverty CryptoNews About paper money is even worst

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The USD is still king in that dept. what a load of BS. Crime syndicates have been using banks for decades. yet not a bad word against banks from WSJ. Paper Dollar is even better. Which crime ? Hello it's 2011, they want their article back Stupid and obsolete argument Cryptobros keep arguing this point like anyone is listening - traditional finance just needs an excuse to kill/control crypto. A few more high profile ransomware attacks and its over. Your talking points are irrelevant. Perception is everything. The table is set - sell now.

The positives of Bitcoin far outweigh any negatives.

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If I was going to commit crimes I'd much rather to it with us dollars, its a lot harder to trace. You've got it the wrong way around, that's the strongest argument to support them. /giphy rolls eyes at institutional FUD HSBC laundering money for cartels for years. We pay politicians with fiat. Fake news! Shame on This is so cheap.... Establishment trying to save its broken moneytary system.

The dollar hasn’t collapsed because of crime. Why would crypto? Thanks to social media we know who the real criminals are now. Such a small percentage of crime happens through crypto. But some people have an interest in having it seem like it is rampant.

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Don't tell the street about cash... So is politics, but I don't see any articles against that..ever. if you keep researching you'll find crime has always found a way to exist, and the crime committed for/with US dollars is immensely greater than with Bitcoin 'As if no one has ever financed crime with cash' is not a pro-crypto argument. It is an anti-cash argument, and you are playing right into the hands of the corrupt elites, by promoting their propaganda to eliminate cash and make draconian laws against crypto.

But if ransomware is attacking IT infrastructure at this moment when most payments are not adopting bitcoin, isn't that exposing the flaws of current system? The establishment is never the right source for the truth when it comes to transformative innovation. The Fed is actively steering the system to defend its own power game - that is the real issue of humanity.

Please tell me how much crime other kinds of money prevented lmao Can you look into the illegal activities at the SEC_News and AMCTheatres please and thank you. congressdotgov FBI DOJPH dscc SenateGOP federalreserve IRSnews Either the sec is complicit or they are ignorant either way they are wrong. AMC

Which street you guys hang on? yeah, cash is definitely not good for enabling crime.

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What kind of bullshit propaganda is this? The US dollar is used for criminal transactions orders of magnitude more often than Bitcoin. Talk about shit tier journalism…This is precisely why everyone despises you people. Your institutions have all become corrupted. We should ban paper money because it enables bank robberies 🤦🏻‍♂️

😂 because the dollar isn’t THE crime enabler 🤡 This article from 2012? Abolish the failed war on drugs and majority of crime being paid for goes away... Then you have more resources to focus on pursuing the serious stuff. Politicians don't want solutions though, that would put some people out of a job, and that doesn't get them re-elected.

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Stick to war diamonds people! Not true, crime kilt the greenback, goldless paper trapped in a Sino debt trap. Greenspan difficulties at the precise time, corporate corruption. Police murdering for monies, allowing crime, creating crimes, so they can false advertise for more monies to waste. Waste, waste.

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Yeah, nobody had ever bought drugs with cash before. the internet enables cryptocurrency time to ban the internet Everyone likes crime and doesn't like the government. Subconsciously.😀😀😀 Yeah cash is squeaky clean let's use that instead Lol. You know what else enables crime? Money Oh shush. So are offshore accounts. Wanna buy some crypto? Pay full price. Don’t spread FUD.

'Enabling crime?' good luck You've missed the entire point Oh man. „Ok“.