The Internet is part of society and is shaped by society. Until society becomes a crime-free zone, the Internet will not be a crime-free zone.
So what exactly is cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a decentralized payment system that basically allows people to send currency to each other over the Internet without the need for a trusted third party such as a bank or financial institution. Transactions are cheap and in many cases free. In addition, payments are also pseudo-anonymous.
In addition, the main feature is that it is completely decentralized, which means that there is no single central point of power or something similar. As a result, everyone has a complete copy of all transactions that have ever occurred with Bitcoin. This creates an incredibly resilient network, which means no one can change, reverse, or control any transactions.
The high level of anonymity means that it is very difficult to track transactions. This is not entirely impossible, but in most cases it is impractical. So, cryptocurrency crime – since you have fast transactions without borders and a high level of anonymity, in theory this creates a system that is ready for operation. So in most of the cases when it is a crime on the network with online payment systems, they tend to go to the authorities and, say, we can transfer this payment information or stop these transactions and reverse them. And none of this can happen with Bitcoin, so in theory it is suitable for criminals.
In light of this, many different agencies study Bitcoin and study Bitcoin, trying to understand how it works and what they can do to control it. This has also been talked about quite a few times in the media, and the media, being the media, would like to focus on the bad side of it. Thus, they focus very strongly on the crime. Therefore, if there is a theft, scam or something like that, they tend to blame the Bitcoin and Bitcoin users for it.
So the most notable is probably Silk Road, which was recently closed, and with their $ 1.2 billion worth of bitcoins, they went to pay for everything from drugs to weapons to hitmen and the like. And the media, again, very quickly blame bitcoin for this and say it is the bitcoin user’s fault.
But there is actually very little evidence of the magnitude of the cryptocurrency crime problem. We do not know if there is a lot or a little. But despite this, people very quickly branded it as criminal and forget about legitimate goals such as quick and fast payment.
So, a few research questions that I look at in this area are: What does Bitcoin crime look like? So many people will say that fraud and theft has been going on for centuries. But the means by which they occur change with technology. So a Victorian-era street crook would actually do something very different than a 419 Nigerian prince crook.
So, the next question that I would also like to explore is the magnitude of the cryptocurrency crime problem. Thus, by creating a log of known cases of fraud, theft, and the like, we can then link it to the public transaction log of all transactions and see which portion of the transactions is actually illegal and criminal. So my last question is, to what extent does technology itself contribute to crime? By looking at the crime logs, we can see exactly what types of crime are happening, and if it is really the fault of technology, or is it the same old crimes that we looked at earlier. And once we look at these things, we can start thinking about possible solutions to the crime problem with Bitcoin.
And we can consider that the only viable solution is one that preserves the core values of the technology itself, namely confidentiality and decentralization. The media devotes a lot of attention to the criminal aspects of this. And they don’t add enough value to legitimate use because Bitcoin is a technology that enables fast and fast payments, which is beneficial to anyone who has ever paid for anything on the Internet.