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Happy Cyber Monday! (More Bitcoin Problems)
December 1st, 2014
Happy Cyber Monday! In case you are from a country that doesn’t observe holidays devoted to consumerism: “Cyber Monday” is a marketing term for the Monday after Thanksgiving, created to persuade people to shop online. To those of us interested in banking and financial transactions – Cyber Monday is a fitting symbol for the emergence of online shopping and digital transactions. Over the last few years, e-commerce sales have grown by a stunning 20% annually around the world, and in the United States, e-commerce sales have increased by a steady 5% per year since 2005. Meanwhile, recent massive data breaches...
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Recent Efforts to Regulate Bitcoin Fall Flat
July 31st, 2014
This week several analysts reported that the European Union is considering regulating and taxing the digital currency, Bitcoin. Specifically, the EU is looking to impose a Value Added Tax (VAT) on trades in bitcoin. Meanwhile, its plans to regulate the digital currency—whether imminent or not—are still unclear. Bitcoin presents short- and long-term risks to financial crime. Like tax havens and other jurisdictions with lax laws on beneficial ownership, Bitcoin presents criminals with an opportunity to keep their money and their transactions secret. Specifically, Bitcoin users don’t need to present an ID to receive a Bitcoin address—or key—so...
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Crypto-currency: Can cyber havens be regulated?
July 15th, 2014
9714198380_cdfeff38d6_zBitcoin can be sent from anywhere to anywhere at a very low cost, while simultaneously keeping a user’s identity hidden. This all sounds convenient for online payments, but without proper regulations, the use of crypto-currency could easily lead to tax evasion. Bitcoin was launched in 2009, as the world’s first crypto-currency. Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the unknown person or group of people responsible, created the revolutionary currency. One key feature of Bitcoin is its decentralized nature, which doesn’t require regulators or bankers, resulting in low transaction costs. However, this also poses severe...
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Beyond Banking: Financing Terrorism with Bitcoin
May 27th, 2014
While we still have a long way to go, the last decade has made it much harder for terrorists to hide money from authorities.  About fifteen years ago, an article in the Washington Post argued Osama bin Laden was able to “shroud his finances in such secrecy and with so many front companies that American officials acknowledge it could take years to decipher them.”  At the time, U.S. officials understood that the key to bin Laden’s power was his extensive wealth.  Yet they were stymied in their ability to track his or other terrorists’ resources as they did not have...
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