2017 UK Digital Currency National Risk Assessment


Back in 2015, the UK National Risk Assessment pointed out the risks of digital currencies in financing terrorism. Now, after two years, can we conclude that cryptocurrency made its march in the crime world? Let’s review the 2017 UK Digital Currency National Risk Assessment.

27 October, AtoZForex – The UK’s National Crime Agency has again assessed the usage of digital currencies for money laundering and financing terrorism. The report entitled “National risk assessment (NRA) of money laundering and terrorist financing 2017″ refers to the 2015 NRA which addressed the risks of digital currencies in financing terrorism. What are the findings of the UK National Crime Agency after two years of research?

2017 UK Digital Currency National Risk Assessment

The agency stated that while smaller amounts are likely to be laundered through digital currencies, there is no evidence of it being used to launder bigger amounts. Meanwhile, the document notes that the market is adopting cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin since digital currencies have become more mainstream in 2015. The report also says the threat posed by digital currencies in cybercrime is high due to payment method. This is apparent in three areas:

  • Cybercriminals use digital currencies such as Bitcoin to collect the payments for their victims in ransomware attacks.
  • Digital currencies boost the growth of cybercrime-as-a-service. The currencies become the primary method of payment for criminal-to-criminal payments. And used for the purchase of illicit tools or services sold online.
  • Digital currencies play a vital role in laundering the proceeds of cyber-dependent crime which facilitates cyber criminal financial flows.

Outlook of Cryptocurrency money laundering usage

The report also refers to 1,584 suspicious activity reports submitted between May 2016 and July 2017 referring to digital currencies. It was found that the reports were increasing monthly. Digital currency payments in businesses are growing. It is leading to more risk of currencies using for money laundering without needing to cash out into ‘fiat’ currencies. The 2015 NRA found that digital currencies are not a method with which terrorists move funds in or out of the UK.

According to the NRA report, the use of digital currencies to buy and sell illicit goods is wider than which is using to fund terrorism. But no evidence has found to date in the UK. It is unlikely that there would be an increase in terrorists using digital currencies in the next five years.

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