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Author Topic: [2018-08-07] Bitcoin Speculators, Not Drug Dealers, Dominate Crypto Use Now  (Read 146 times)
guybrushthreepwood
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August 07, 2018, 12:52:16 PM
 #1

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-07/bitcoin-speculators-not-drug-dealers-dominate-crypto-use-now

Quote
The ratio of legal to illegal activity in Bitcoin has flipped, according to Lilita Infante at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

When Infante started seeing the Bitcoin pop up in her cases at the DEA five years ago, her analysis of blockchain data showed criminal activity was behind about 90 percent of transactions in the cryptocurrency. Now, illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent and speculation has become the dominant driver, she said.

That doesn’t mean criminals stopped using Bitcoin. Total transaction volume associated with illegal uses has surged since 2013, said Infante, who is a DEA special agent and part of the 10-person Cyber Investigative Task Force. The team focuses on dark web and virtual-currency related investigations and collaborates with other Department of Justice units including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The volume has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased,’’ she said in an interview at her office in Weston, Florida. “The majority of transactions are used for price speculation.’’

Infante’s findings contradict the popular perception that Bitcoin is mostly being used by criminals such as the notorious Dread Pirate Roberts, but also show that the underground market is one of the biggest groups of people using Bitcoin for its actual features rather than its price gyrations. Transactions are pseudonymous, so not easily traceable, while a decentralized ledger eliminates the need for banks and governments, and also means there’s no company that can be subpoenaed in an investigation.


====================

At least they've come around now and are not just needlessly slandering and smearing bitcoin by highlighting its use by criminals.

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August 07, 2018, 01:38:05 PM
 #2

I agree, criminals before has a lot of room to work using bitcoin but now different agencies find ways to track those criminals through blockchain analysis. And we all know that bitcoin is not really anonymous and criminals recognized this the hard way. Maybe some of them are still using crypto to hide their illegal activity, but sooner or later the full hands of the law will be knocking at their doors.

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August 07, 2018, 02:11:50 PM
 #3

I agree, criminals before has a lot of room to work using bitcoin but now different agencies find ways to track those criminals through blockchain analysis. And we all know that bitcoin is not really anonymous and criminals recognized this the hard way. Maybe some of them are still using crypto to hide their illegal activity, but sooner or later the full hands of the law will be knocking at their doors.

Criminals have moved on to privacy coins like Monero, although if you take extortion schemes like ransomware, Bitcoin is still used because it's more likely that the victims will pay with it rather than some privacy coin, because it's harder to buy the latter. This has contributed to decrease of the percentage of criminal transactions, but the biggest factor is that other uses cases have increased. What would be actually interesting is the absolute values of illegal transactions per day in early days and today.

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August 07, 2018, 02:15:34 PM
 #4

Finally a good news for all of us who is waiting for wider adoption! Of course we, on this forum, have known that criminal domination in the crypto market had gone quite some time ago, but ask anybody on the street and they will tell you that crypto is used by criminals mostly. This misinformation is the main hindrance on the way to wider adoption, because most people don't want to be associated with criminals. But if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is saying that illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent, I think people will believe them.

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August 07, 2018, 06:59:59 PM
 #5

Of course, the crypto currency will always be used by criminals and there is no doubt about it. They always use advanced technology for their own purposes. However, now they switch to the use of crypto currency with a high level of anonymity - Monero, ZCash, Dash and others. In this case, bitcoin is used less and less. In this there is nothing surprising or unusual.

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August 07, 2018, 07:09:22 PM
 #6

At least they've come around now and are not just needlessly slandering and smearing bitcoin by highlighting its use by criminals.

Who are they? Do you mean DEA or bloomberg? (they both suck IMO)

Of course, the crypto currency will always be used by criminals and there is no doubt about it. They always use advanced technology for their own purposes. However, now they switch to the use of crypto currency with a high level of anonymity - Monero, ZCash, Dash and others. In this case, bitcoin is used less and less. In this there is nothing surprising or unusual.

This is both completely normal and completely fine from the economic point of view. There has to be balance in the world. Since criminals are a part of the society (for instance there's 5% of them) there has to be a corresponding number in the statistical use of cryptocurrencies. It can be lower or higher than the average but it will always be there and it shouldn't be treated like something strange or bad. It's a useless piece of news, just like "this brand of cars is the most popular among criminals".

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August 07, 2018, 07:37:22 PM
 #7

It's been proven many times before that criminals use other investment means (such as property purchases) more than they do using Bitcoin.

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August 07, 2018, 08:08:25 PM
 #8

Criminals use other sophisticated ways to steal people's money, and these sophisticated ways criminals use to steal people's money are:

- Icos

- Exchange

Currently many criminals are creating ICOs to steal millions of dollars from people and because the authorities are not yet rigorously inspecting these ICOs, it has created a loophole for criminals to commit to creating scam ICOs. Another opportunity that criminals are taking advantage of are the exchanges, given the lack of supervision and regulation, criminals saw the creation of exchange as the great opportunity to steal millions of dollars from people

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August 07, 2018, 08:31:40 PM
 #9

Finally a good news for all of us who is waiting for wider adoption! Of course we, on this forum, have known that criminal domination in the crypto market had gone quite some time ago, but ask anybody on the street and they will tell you that crypto is used by criminals mostly. This misinformation is the main hindrance on the way to wider adoption, because most people don't want to be associated with criminals. But if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is saying that illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent, I think people will believe them.

I wouldn't equate speculators buying Bitcoin with higher adoption. A good percentage of these speculators do not even know how to set up a bitcoin wallet or how a bitcoin address looks like. They would just buy Contracts-For-Differences or leave their bitcoins on exchanges.
On the positive side, atleast mainstream media acknowledges that drug dealers account for only a small portion of Bitcoin transactions.


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August 07, 2018, 11:14:34 PM
 #10

Yeah I also read the article just now and this is a good representation of Bitcoin and crypto out there. Alas it's good they know that people's perception about the criminal use of Bitcoin is very wrong. And as it was captured there, they even want people to use it for their medium of transaction because they can conduct some blockchain analysis and identify them. I wish everyone could read this and stop saying all the naysays about the use of BTC.

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August 08, 2018, 12:20:42 AM
 #11

Finally a good news for all of us who is waiting for wider adoption! Of course we, on this forum, have known that criminal domination in the crypto market had gone quite some time ago, but ask anybody on the street and they will tell you that crypto is used by criminals mostly. This misinformation is the main hindrance on the way to wider adoption, because most people don't want to be associated with criminals. But if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is saying that illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent, I think people will believe them.

I wouldn't equate speculators buying Bitcoin with higher adoption. A good percentage of these speculators do not even know how to set up a bitcoin wallet or how a bitcoin address looks like. They would just buy Contracts-For-Differences or leave their bitcoins on exchanges.
On the positive side, atleast mainstream media acknowledges that drug dealers account for only a small portion of Bitcoin transactions.

Drug dealers could hid their assets in exchanges so they're no that easy to track by authorities. They did that strategy because of anonymous identity so small portions of btc transactions will successfully be sent. But I don't think it's the only transactions they had, and for my own knowledge more transactions with small portions of btc with different dates which they though of being safe from being traced. More speculators just buy and then sell immediately when target was achieved, so the domination doesn't became more rampant.

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August 08, 2018, 02:21:51 AM
 #12

I agree, criminals before has a lot of room to work using bitcoin but now different agencies find ways to track those criminals through blockchain analysis. And we all know that bitcoin is not really anonymous and criminals recognized this the hard way. Maybe some of them are still using crypto to hide their illegal activity, but sooner or later the full hands of the law will be knocking at their doors.

Criminals have moved on to privacy coins like Monero, although if you take extortion schemes like ransomware, Bitcoin is still used because it's more likely that the victims will pay with it rather than some privacy coin, because it's harder to buy the latter. This has contributed to decrease of the percentage of criminal transactions, but the biggest factor is that other uses cases have increased. What would be actually interesting is the absolute values of illegal transactions per day in early days and today.


Criminals shifting from bitcoin to monero still means that the whole cryptocurrency still dominates the means of transactions especially in the darkweb. Privacy coins should not be encouraged and should be removed in the blockchain system.

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August 08, 2018, 02:28:41 AM
 #13

Why only now? I reckon it has always been that way. Holders, which coins are obtained from buying, trading or mining, are also considered as speculators.

Also, the volumes of bitcoin used in the darknet drug trade were always overestimated by the news media to create FUD.

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August 08, 2018, 06:15:26 AM
 #14

I agree, criminals before has a lot of room to work using bitcoin but now different agencies find ways to track those criminals through blockchain analysis. And we all know that bitcoin is not really anonymous and criminals recognized this the hard way. Maybe some of them are still using crypto to hide their illegal activity, but sooner or later the full hands of the law will be knocking at their doors.

Criminals have moved on to privacy coins like Monero, although if you take extortion schemes like ransomware, Bitcoin is still used because it's more likely that the victims will pay with it rather than some privacy coin, because it's harder to buy the latter. This has contributed to decrease of the percentage of criminal transactions, but the biggest factor is that other uses cases have increased. What would be actually interesting is the absolute values of illegal transactions per day in early days and today.


Criminals shifting from bitcoin to monero still means that the whole cryptocurrency still dominates the means of transactions especially in the darkweb. Privacy coins should not be encouraged and should be removed in the blockchain system.

If you truly believe that, then you are missing the whole point of Bitcoin: it was started so people can do whatever they want with their money, without anyone else interfering. There's no such thing as "blockchain system", there are peer-to-peer networks that can not be taken down. You can ask exchanges to delist privacy coins, you can ask government to ban them, but you'll never be able to stop them.

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August 08, 2018, 10:14:52 AM
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 #15

Years back, I would have contradict this report but with recent happenings its really going to be hard to refute it even though I don't have the statistics. The reason for that is simple. Its becoming very difficult to move huge value of crypto everyday for drug lords and people who wants to launder money fast considering they don't move little amount of money, and don't always have the luxury of time to move funds in bit in other to stay below the radar. Every service providers related to crypto are asking for KYCs down to gambling sites, ICO sites, centralized exchange sites and there is no easy way for any platform to convert huge amount of bitcoin to fiat without leaving some form of evidence in moving from one account to another.


Criminals shifting from bitcoin to monero still means that the whole cryptocurrency still dominates the means of transactions especially in the darkweb. Privacy coins should not be encouraged and should be removed in the blockchain system.

You might be right though but that is not entirely true that only criminal uses Monero. If that is your argument then you are also supporting the fact that previously bitcoin is being used by criminals and also saying that the anonymity of bitcoin has been compromised that is why they are moving but don't forget that except the high net worth people in the underworld, you will need a platform to convert your crypto to fiat.

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August 08, 2018, 11:24:12 AM
 #16

I'm actually surprised that they came out and said this. We know it to be true, but this 'but drug dealers use it' shtick seems to be their main point of attack and defamation and is going to be something politicians continue to use to discredit bitcoin whilst we also all still know that money is the best sort of anonymous currency and one preferred by drug dealers, yet surprise surprise this doesn't ever seem to be an issue.

Why only now? I reckon it has always been that way. Holders, which coins are obtained from buying, trading or mining, are also considered as speculators.

Also, the volumes of bitcoin used in the darknet drug trade were always overestimated by the news media to create FUD.

I would say the initial owners/users of bitcoin where the tech geeks and cryptography enthusiasts, but then the second wave of bitcoiners were probably libertarians and those who saw it as a great way to buy drugs or subvert state control etc. You can't deny that Silk Road had a huge impact on both the popularity and usage of bitcoin. In fact, I first heard about bitcoin when it was on the news after being mentioned as some sort of currency that you could buy drugs with which piqued my interest to investigate it more. Once I found out it was new idea for decentralised cash that doesn't rely on third parties to use I was sold. The rest is history.

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August 08, 2018, 02:58:19 PM
 #17

It's more appropriate if you use "traders" rather than "speculators" as that what we really are. The US government might made this information available to the public as they now know where to look. They might still be relating cryptocurrencies to illegal activities and for this time around it is related to money laundering and tax evasion in the cryptocurrency market. Drugs is really a much more smaller market compared to cryptocurrency trading with new ICOs launching and everyone wants to gets rich (legally) there is no doubt that their market is bigger.

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August 08, 2018, 03:33:22 PM
 #18

It's more appropriate if you use "traders" rather than "speculators" as that what we really are.

Not necessarily. It depends on what you do with your coins. In my opinion, I would call traders people who are actively buying and selling for profit ie trading, whereas speculators are more like long term hodlers who are looking for big gains in the long term.  I wouldn't call myself a trader because I don't really do trades, but I do hold coins as a long term investment and I'm definitely speculating on the value being much higher in the near future than it is right now hence being a speculator.

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August 08, 2018, 04:59:12 PM
 #19

It's more appropriate if you use "traders" rather than "speculators" as that what we really are.

Not necessarily. It depends on what you do with your coins. In my opinion, I would call traders people who are actively buying and selling for profit ie trading, whereas speculators are more like long term hodlers who are looking for big gains in the long term.  I wouldn't call myself a trader because I don't really do trades, but I do hold coins as a long term investment and I'm definitely speculating on the value being much higher in the near future than it is right now hence being a speculator.
Sorry for the misunderstanding I was actually relating my terms in the author's statement as traders are the ones who contribute most of the daily traded volumes of cryptocurrencies in the market as compared to long term holders like you. I also know that a lot of speculators also exist in the market as trading is not suitable for everyone and they either don't have time to actively trade or is not comfortable using technical analysis for their buy and sell decisions.

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August 08, 2018, 07:13:17 PM
 #20

Finally a good news for all of us who is waiting for wider adoption! Of course we, on this forum, have known that criminal domination in the crypto market had gone quite some time ago, but ask anybody on the street and they will tell you that crypto is used by criminals mostly. This misinformation is the main hindrance on the way to wider adoption, because most people don't want to be associated with criminals. But if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is saying that illegal activity has shrunk to about 10 percent, I think people will believe them.

I wouldn't equate speculators buying Bitcoin with higher adoption. A good percentage of these speculators do not even know how to set up a bitcoin wallet or how a bitcoin address looks like. They would just buy Contracts-For-Differences or leave their bitcoins on exchanges.
On the positive side, atleast mainstream media acknowledges that drug dealers account for only a small portion of Bitcoin transactions.

I've been always thinking that if a person uses Bitcoin, no matter how much knowledge about it they have, this person can be called an adopter. Also I think that we need more adopters like that, simple people who don't know and maybe will never know how the whole thing works, but they will be using BTC and that is what really important. We need much more people using BTC, maybe 20 times more than we have today, so that the whales lose their power to manipulate the market.

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