Are Bitcoin Or Libra Transactions Connected To Illicit Activity

Are Bitcoin Or Libra Transactions Connected To Illicit Activity
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Dr. Tom Robinson, Chief Scientist & Co-founder @ Elliptic (leading cryptocurrency compliance provider and blockchain analytics co.) on:

  • A response to Mnuchin Crypto Briefing from yesterday
  • The upcoming Facebook Senate hearing on Tuesday morning with David Marcus (head of Libra)

Elliptic identifies illicit activity in blockchains worldwide – they count Binance, and government agencies as customers and recently identified Hamas’ use of bitcoin as a medium for fundraising.


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Dr. Robinson, discusses how the design of bitcoin and Libra blockchains, means they can meet the regulatory requirements Mnuchin outlined and is expected to be a key discussion point during the Senate hearing Tuesday/Wednesday.


Steve Mnuchin‘s press conference on Monday confirmed that the Treasury Department’s concerns around money laundering and terrorist financing are right at the top of regulators’ priority list when it comes to cryptocurrencies. This is actually bullish news for the future of cryptocurrencies long term. The US has had a clear AML regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies for several years now, while the rest of the world, led by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is rapidly adopting AML regulation focused on maintaining oversight of cryptocurrency service providers.

Libra by design, is open in order to achieve its goal of serving the world’s unbanked. As such two design choices have been made with Libra that will greatly reduce the risk of misuse by bad actors. Firstly, like bitcoin or ethereum, Libra is based on a transparent transaction ledger.  Secondly, Libra transactions will be processed by “validators”, which are businesses such as Mastercard and Uber. Libra transactions will only be processed if a quorum of the validators agree to do so.

Determining whether bitcoin, Libra or any other cryptocurrency transactions are connected to illicit activity is important for businesses and financial institutions that are handling digital assets.  In fact, under regulatory obligations, these companies have the obligation to understand the source of funds in their customers’ transactions, whether these are legitimate or from criminal activity. Today,  blockchain analytics software allows companies to screen transactions, detect risk, and uncover crypto enabled crime, including money laundering, terrorist fundraising, fraud and other financial crime including ransomware or dark markets.”

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Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at) - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver
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  1. Let me retitle this for you –> “Are Bitcoin, Libra, or any other currency like the US Dollar Transactions Connected To Illicit Activity?”

    In addendum…people have been used as currency as well. Just saying.

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