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DEA Agent Said Illegal Activity is no Longer Bitcoin’s Primary Use

A special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reportedly revealed that the usage of bitcoin in illegal activities has shrunk to about 10% from 90%previously. This finding contradicts the favorite perception of the cryptocurrency’s primary use.

New Data From DEA Agent

A DEA special agent, Lilita Infante, has reportedly admitted that illegal activity is no longer bitcoin’s primary use. The group collaborates with other units of the Department of Justice including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She is part of the 10-person Cyber Investigative Task Force, a group focusing on dark web and crypto-related investigations.

Infante told Bloomberg on Tuesday that five years back when she began investigating cases involving bitcoin, “her evaluation of blockchain data demonstrated criminal activity was behind about 90% of transactions in the cryptocurrency.” However, she is now seeing the opposite: The ratio of legal to illegal activity in bitcoin has flipped…Now, illegal activity has shrunk to about 10% and speculation has become the dominant driver. “That doesn’t mean criminals stopped using bitcoin,” the publication mentioned. While the “total transaction volume connected with illegal uses has surged since 2013,” Infante reiterated: Nearly all transactions are used for price speculation.

Contradicting Popular Opinion

Mainstream media have frequently described bitcoin as being used by criminals such as for money laundering and purchasing drugs and other illicit items. According to Matthew Allen, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Assistant Director, “HSI agents are increasingly encountering virtual currency… in the course of their investigations.” In a written testimony for a Senate Committee hearing on modernizing anti-money laundering (AML) laws in November last year, he wrote that among cryptocurrencies encountered were “anonymity improving cryptocurrencies (AECs).”

In June, a high-ranking official of the U.S. Secret Service urged Congress to consider additional legislation to handle potential challenges linked to anonymity-improved cryptocurrencies. He claimed that some cryptocurrencies “have been utilized extensively for illicit activity.” In the same month, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill to help prevent the illicit use of cryptocurrencies.

Citing the popular perceived use of bitcoin for illicit activities, Bloomberg emphasized: Infante’s results contradict the popular perception. Furthermore, the special agent described that privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like monero and zcash aren’t liquid enough, therefore “the overwhelming most dealings remain in bitcoin,” the publication conveyed. She was further quoted declaring that while these cryptocurrencies more anonymous than bitcoin, “we still have ways of monitoring them.”

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