Three times more cryptocurrency was stolen from exchanges in the first half of 2018 than in all of 2017, according to CipherTrace. These dirty funds all need to be “laundered,” which results in a multi-billion-dollar and growing cryptocurrency money laundering problem that is attracting the attention of regulators globally.

cryptocurrency money laundering

The research report, which looks at the state of the cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering (AML) market, provides insights into the pending global cooperation and crackdown by the G20 international 37-nation financial crime-fighting Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The current rules, which seem strict on the surface, call for exchanges to: be registered or licensed, verify customers’ identities, prevent money laundering, and report suspicious trading and transactions. Unfortunately, they are voluntary.

According to Reuters, the FATF is currently discussing making crypto exchange rules binding. Additional global enforcement action is also expected from US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and it will likely target money laundering services, crypto-to-crypto exchanges and privacy coins.

“Until now, the lack of regulatory guidance has hindered the broader adoption of cryptocurrencies. Now we are seeing the big guys coming together asking for cryptocurrency anti-money laundering regulation—it is inevitable, it will be unified, and it will be global. There will be little room for privacy coins without AML or mixers in these Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulated regimes. This will also be a wake-up call for virtual currency exchanges and financial institutions, exposing them to the risk of facing stiff penalties,” commented Dave Jevans, CEO, CipherTrace.

“Cybercriminals follow easy money, and many cryptocurrency owners are the perfect victims. They are virtually unable to protect either themselves or their digital assets, being susceptible even to relatively simple phishing attacks. Law enforcement is frequently uninterested in investigating and prosecuting petty offences with digital coins theft, as they are already under water with highly-sophisticated nationwide hacks. While crypto startups are virtually ignorant even to the fundamentals of cybersecurity, spending all their efforts and resources to survive on extremely volatile and highly-competitive market,” Ilia Kolochenko, CEO at High-Tech Bridge told Help Net Security.

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