Cryptocurrencies: The Dark Side of the Boom

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On Wednesday 23rd March, Aperio Intelligence hosted a webinar to discuss the financial crime risks associated with the explosive growth of cryptocurrencies. In recent years, as investors have been attracted by the possibilities of decentralised finance and innovations such as Non-Fungible Tokens, the use of digital assets for fraud and laundering criminal profits has also grown. Blockchain research and investigation firm Chainalysis reports that cybercriminals laundered $8.6 billion in cryptocurrencies last year, up 30% from 2020.

Criminal groups are holding companies and institutions hostage with ransomware attacks tied to demands for payment in Bitcoin, causing billions of dollars of financial damage. Anonymity tools such as decentralised “mixers” present a stubborn challenge for law enforcement and investigators. Meanwhile, regulators and legislators across the world have scrambled to contend with the complex mix of technological, privacy, innovation and economic questions presented by cryptocurrency.

The webinar was chaired by Paul Doran, Director of Aperio Intelligence’s Investigations practice. Three external panelists joined to share their understanding and experience on the matter:

Robert Dedman: Partner, King & Spalding Special Matters and Investigation Practice

Nick Harris: VP Technology, M2 Recovery

Mike Hurst: Director at Cyberst and lecturer in Policing Studies at University of West London