The Europol is meeting 16 cryptocurrency exchanges, digital wallet providers, and payment processors in a three-day conference in Hague. Beginning Tuesday, the participants will discuss ways to curb criminal activity in the digital currency sector and ways to avoid money laundering using digital coins. Authorities from European nations will also be attending the conference to learn the nuances of the young industry.
Preventing Exploitation and Cybercrimes
A Europol spokesperson told that the attendees said that topics of discussions would include “the abuse of virtual currencies for illegal activities” and methods to “enhance the capabilities of law enforcement.” The cryptocurrency segment has grown exponentially in the past one year. The market remains unregulated as of now which has given hackers and other cyber criminals a freeload of victims.
The conference intends to focus on “tracing and attribution” of these digital currencies. Also, the agency wants to look for ways that could help in removing anonymity from the coins which provides an easier disguise to criminals and stops agencies from discovering where the coins are coming from or where they have gone.
The former director of Europol, Rob Wainwright, previously said that at least 3 to 4 percent of the 100 billion-pound illegal proceeds from European nations were laundered to foreign jurisdictions using cryptocurrencies. He also expressed concerns with the fact that these transactions are growing at a very rapid pace.
What Makes Cryptos a Headache for Europol?
As digital currencies operated in an unregulated market and can provide anonymity to the users, they have been used in drug dealing, gun trading as well as terrorist financing. Central banks do not issue the digital currencies, and they operate outside their purview in dedicated blockchains where the authorities cannot freeze assets or investigate any criminal activity thoroughly.
Some experts believe that the European law enforcement agency should create a centralized system for the management of these transactions and weed out criminal accounts.
Others have different views on this issue. The co-founder and chief executive of Vienna-based exchange Bitpanda, Eric Demuth, said that major exchanges have already put several monitoring regulations in place.