The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) declared that currently only 10% of transactions with cryptocurrencies are used for illegal activities.
Special agent Lilita Infante provided the data during an interview, published on the Bloomberg, in which she assures that five years ago the percentage of criminal acts behind the transactions with cryptocurrencies was 90%.
Infante is part of the team of 10 people who are responsible for cyber research within the DEA. Infante said that the prohibited activities are mainly carried out through the dark web, where illegal products can be purchased with cryptocurrencies, turning this practice into an increasing trend in the last year. Thus, it indicates that criminal organizations, such as drug cartels, are increasingly using digital currencies in their operations, which range from money laundering to cross-border transfers.
She added that these organizations find it cheaper, faster and safer to carry out operations with cryptocurrencies than through the traditional banking system. However, this situation is changing because now police agencies are also using this technology to perform their operations.
In this regard, she explained that the blockchain has become the first choice for agents to track transactions and identify the offenders. She also added that the same has been happening with wallet addresses, which no longer cover the identities of the users, as well as with the anonymous cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies focused on privacy, like Monero and Zcash, are not liquid enough and, although they are more anonymous than Bitcoin, we still have ways to track them, said Lilita Infante.
On the other hand, the agent affirmed that the majority of illicit transactions are carried out with bitcoin, even though the traffickers and money launderers exchange it for other currencies with lower rates and faster transaction times. To do this, they use over-the-counter exchanges and peer-to-peer platforms.
The European Parliament released a report last June, in which it has concluded that there is a small number of public documents and confirmed cases of financial terrorism that involve cryptocurrencies.
Unlike what the DEA agent said, European authorities foresee a long-term advance of cybercrimes, due to the development of private cryptocurrencies.