November 15th, 2013
Technological advancements in currency are already challenging our efforts toward transparency. As I’ve discussed before, digital currency, most notably Bitcoin, grant added flexibility and opacity to the international financial system for criminals, money launderers, and tax evaders. If trends continue on their current trajectory, these technological developments, namely digital currency, will represent a significant obstacle to stemming the continued tide of illicit financial flows from developing countries.
Yet there are other technological—and digital—pathways for criminals to launder money. These are still not well-understood, but are nonetheless vitally important. The earlier—and better—we can understand them, the better our chance of tackling...
September 4th, 2013
Undoubtedly, the world has made progress on financial transparency to reduce illicit financial flows in recent years, and the evidence suggests we will continue to do so, at perhaps an even faster rate, in the near future. Yet as these efforts ramp up, threats to efforts to stem illicit financial flows will emerge from technological advancements in currency, most notably Bitcoin. So far, most nations have pursued a piecemeal and largely unilateral approach to regulate digital currency, but this must change. To truly deal with the threat digital currency imposes on continued illicit financial flows, we need an international...
June 26th, 2013
In April, I argued Bitcoin, one of the world’s most mainstream currencies currently operating, may become a viable, sizeable, and more dangerous alternative to offshore accounts for money laundering and tax evasion. I argued the U.S. government isn’t paying close enough attention to the growing threat posed by these currencies. Yet, just a month later, the Department of Justice arrested the founders of Liberty Reserve, another digital currency, and charged them with money laundering. It might seem I was wrong. I say not so fast. For counter-intuitive reasons, Bitcoin still poses a more serious, and long-term, threat than currencies...