DEA Claims Only 10% of Bitcoin’s Transactions Are Related to Illegal Activity
One of the most common stereotypes surrounding cryptocurrencies is that they are primarily used by criminals to facilitate illegal activities. This stigma has been a common theme for media headlines over the past year as coins like Bitcoin continue to grow.
However, US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) data has recently shed light on just how much of Bitcoin’s network contributes to illegal activity. Lilita Infante of the DEA recently revealed to Bloomberg that only about 10% of all Bitcoin transactions are used for criminal activity.
Infante first started evaluating Bitcoin’s transactions in 2013 as there had been a large spike in DEA drug trafficking cases which utilized the cryptocurrency. At the time, she found that roughly 90% of the network’s transactions were related to criminal activity.
According to Infante, the overall volume and total dollar value of illegal trades utilizing Bitcoin grew substantially over the following five years. Yet, the overall ratio of illegal network transactions simultaneously declined.
Infante told Bloomberg that Bitcoin’s criminal transaction volume “has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased. The majority of transactions are used for price speculation.”
Despite this, the DEA seems to be quite confident in their ability to combat such behavior. In fact, Infante claims that the agency even has methods of tracking coins like Monero and Z-Cash, which are thought to be completely anonymous and untraceable.
Infante also pointed out how blockchain technology can help the agency at times to track such trades. She continued on to tell Bloomberg, “blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people… I actually want them to keep using them.”
In all, the growth rate of traders and speculators has grown exponentially faster than that of digital criminals. Infante’s findings stand as evidence that, in fact, contradicts the popular belief that Bitcoin is mostly utilized by criminals. However, her work still does show that illegal deep web markets take up a significant piece of Bitcoin’s daily transactions.