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Europol: Bitcoin accounts for over 40% of criminal-to-criminal online payments

While one cannot deny that the world’s leading banks and investment firms are slowly embracing bitcoin, yet it remains the popular in dark-web market places and cyber criminals.

According to a new report from Europol, European Union's top law enforcement agency, the digital currency could become the go-to currency for digital criminals in the region, CoinDesk reports.

The agency released its Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment for this year on September 30, which focuses on the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in several contexts including the state of criminal financing and specific elements of unlawful activity involving the technology.

Statistics point out that bitcoin accounts for more than 40% of all identified criminal-to-criminal online payments, with PayPal accounting for 25% of those reported, Europol said.

"Although there is no single common currency used by cybercriminals across the EU, it is apparent that bitcoin may gradually be taking on that role. Bitcoin features as a common payment mechanism across almost all payment scenarios, a trend which can only be expected to increase”, the report said.

The report further speaks about the effectiveness of regulation being developed by both EU-level bodies as well as countries within the region. The anonymity feature associated with bitcoin makes it difficult to enforce regulation.

"Any regulation of cryptocurrencies would likely only be applicable and enforceable when applied to identifiable users such as those providing exchange services. The inability to attribute transactions to end users makes it difficult to imagine how any regulation could be enforced for everyday users, the Europol report stated. "It is clear that cybercriminals will continue to use whichever payment mechanism is convenient, familiar or perceived to be safe, including those that are already regulated and maintain anti-money laundering controls".

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