The European law enforcement agency Europol has developed a new “game” that shows its agents how to trace illicit digital currency transactions.
Europol Makes Crypto Its Number One Target
Many are still under the impression that cryptocurrencies attract malicious behavior and similar problems, and to an extent, they’re right. Many a time have currencies like bitcoin and now Monero – a digital asset popular amongst thieves for its quasi-anonymous properties – been tied to illicit purchases on the black-market involving drugs, firearms and other illicit items.
Monero has even given rise to a whole new type of thievery known as crypto-jacking. The process involves a hacker (or hackers) taking over a person’s computer without their knowledge or permission. They use the computer to mine cryptocurrencies – usually Monero – and earn a serious profit while the original computer owner earns nothing (unless you count the high energy bills they receive at the end of each month).
It’s an ugly and unfair sight, and one that’s occurring more often, but Europol is looking to put a stop to such problems with a rather unique approach. The game was unleashed at this week’s sixth Cryptocurrency Conference, which was hosted at Europol’s official headquarters. Set to launch in October, the game is among the first “law enforcement training opportunities on cryptocurrency and investigation using gamification,” according to a press release submitted by the agency.
The game basically offers agents real-time virtual training in uncovering malicious actors in the cryptocurrency space. While it sounds like fun, it’s a serious sign that regulation is becoming the new norm, and anyone who doesn’t play by the rules should probably be running scared right about now.
For example, Live Bitcoin News recently reported that Europol had seized Bestmixer.io, a cryptocurrency “mixing” company that the agency believes may be guilty of laundering as much as $200 million in dirty crypto funds. In addition, the Wall Street Market – an illicit, black market ring that users say scammed them out of as much as $30 million – was also taken down.
Not as Anonymous as You Think?
We are now entering an era where platforms or companies that engage in illegal activity or perform “questionable acts” with cryptocurrency are likely to be targeted and seized by authorities. Crypto can be traced; despite the allegedly anonymous qualities of bitcoin and other competing coins, every transaction is recorded via distributed ledger, meaning there’s always a record that those in charge can refer to if they’re looking to take someone (or something) down.
This doesn’t mean that crypto is a shady industry. It just means that there are bad actors out there that valid users need to watch out for. Europol, if anything, will likely bring about a new level of legitimacy to the crypto arena by removing those who would seek to do dirty deeds with digital currencies.