The Web is part of society and is shaped by society. And as long as society is a crime -free place, the Web cannot be a crime -free place.
So what is a cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a decentralized payment system, which primarily allows people to send money to each other over the web without the need for a reliable third party such as a bank or financial institution. Transactions are cheap, and in many cases, they are free. And also, payments are pseudo anonymous as well.
Likewise, the main feature is that it is completely decentralized, which means there is no one central point of authority or anything like that. The implications of this are made by everyone having a full copy of all transactions that have taken place since Bitcoin. This creates a much stronger network, which means no one can modify or refuse or police any transactions.
The high level of anonymity there means it is very difficult to track transactions. It’s not entirely impossible, but it’s not practical in most cases. So crime with cryptocurrency– because you have fast, unlimited transactions, and you have a high level of anonymity, it theoretically creates a system that is ripe for exploitation. So in most cases if it is an online crime to have online payment systems, then they have the possibility to go to the authorities and, let’s say, we can hand over this payment information or we can stop it. transactions and reverse them. And nothing is going to happen with Bitcoin, so it’s ripe for criminals, in theory.
As a result, many different agencies are researching Bitcoin and looking at Bitcoin and trying to understand how it works and what they can do to police it. It’s also in the media at times, and the media, as media, like to point out the bad side of it. So they focus very much on crime with it. So if there is a theft or a scam or something like that, then they are likely to blame it on Bitcoin and Bitcoin users.
So the best known is probably the Silk Road, which took over recently, and with their $ 1.2 billion worth of Bitcoins, pays for anything from drugs to guns to hit people like that. things. And the media, again, is too quick to blame it on Bitcoins and say it’s the Bitcoin user’s fault.
But there is very little evidence of the magnitude of the crime problem in cryptocurrencies. We don’t know how much or we don’t know how little. But despite this, people are very quick to mark it as something criminal, and they forget the legitimate uses, such as fast and quick payments.
So some of the research questions I’m looking at in this area are what does Bitcoin crime look like? That’s why a lot of people would say that scams and thefts have been going on for years. But the way in which this happens is changing with technology. So a Victorian street swindler would almost certainly do something very different from a 419 Nigerian prince scammer.
So the next question I want to research as well is to look at the extent of the cryptocurrency crime problem. So by creating a log of known scams and thefts and things like that, we can cross reference that to the public transaction log of all transactions and see how many of the transactions are actually illegal and criminal. So my final question is, to what extent does technology itself accelerate crime? By looking back at the crime logs, we can see what particular type of crime occurred, and whether it was actually a technological error, or whether it was the same old crimes we were looking at. formerly. And once we think about these things, we can start thinking about possible solutions to the Bitcoin crime issue.
And we can assume that the only appropriate solution is one that preserves the underlying values of the technology itself, which can be privacy and decentralization. A lot of the media has focused on looking at the criminal aspects of it. And they don’t give enough value to legitimate uses, because Bitcoin is a technology that enables fast, quick payments, which is beneficial to anyone who pays for anything on the web.