Use of cryptocurrency can lead to abuse. Europol acknowledges this, while noting that it offers authorities an opportunity to tackle crime. Europe’s law enforcement agency also says they can help investigate money laundering networks.
Europol states that it is vital to understand cryptocurrencies in order to tackle organized crime.
With the increasing use of cryptocurrency in different industries and borders, there has been an increase in abuses and money laundering. The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, Europol, concluded a gathering of crypto experts, financial investigators regulators and business representatives.
The 6th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies was recently held at the agency’s headquarters in the Netherlands. Two-day event, which was hosted by the Basel Institute on Governance’s joint Working Group on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies, was meant to encourage collaboration between all parties involved in the investigation and prosecution of crypto-related criminal acts.
Speakers also noted that when employing the right tools, blockchain technologies can “offer an unprecedented opportunity to investigate organized crime and money laundering networks and to recover stolen funds,” Europol said in a press release. To combat crime and laundering illicit funds, it is important to increase our understanding and capabilities in crypto.
Europol noted that law enforcement and regulatory agencies, as well as the private sector, are all working together to keep up with those trying to misuse crypto assets. With new rules to make sure digital currencies such as bitcoin are treated the same way as all other assets, the agency discussed the strengthening of EU law. The police added that this is also intended to ease the seizure of and management crypto funds.
Europol further pointed out that investigators are taking advantage of blockchain-based tech to follow money flows, which has allowed them to identify not only scammers and hackers but also to expose more ‘traditional’ crime groups and money laundering networks. “Private companies are innovating fast to provide the tools and analytical capacity to trace funds laundered across multiple blockchains using different obfuscation techniques,” the agency said.
The latest edition of Europol’s crypto conference was attended by over 1,700 participants from 119 nations with speakers representing EU institutions such as the European Parliament, crypto service providers like Binance, the world’s leading digital asset exchange, blockchain forensics and asset recovery companies, including Chainalysis, alongside law enforcement officials from a number of European and other countries like the United States and South Korea.
The event follows important developments toward regulating Europe’s crypto space. Following an agreement to adopt anti-money laundering rules that will apply to cryptocurrency transactions, EU member states and key EU institutions reached a settlement on the Markets in Cryptoassets (MiCA), a regulatory package.
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