170 Cryptocurrency Money Laundering Cases Registered by Japan in Six Months

In the past year and so, the cryptocurrency wave has swept the financial markets and has set a new precedence in the way global transactions take place. The revolutionary Blockchain technology which backs most of the cryptocurrencies is a strong alternative to the traditional banking systems and provides cheaper, faster and secure way of sending money across the globe.

One of the important reasons that the concept of cryptocurrency resonates with the thinking of global investors is that it is a completely decentralized system in nature. This means that it gives investors a complete freedom over their money without any sort of intervention from any third-party financial institutions like banks and others. However, this has left several government and regulatory bodies of different countries worried, as this decentralized system of transacting money is exposed to many illicit and malicious activities like money laundering, terror funding, drug payments etc.

In one of the startling revelations by Japan’s National Police Agency, over 170 cases of money laundering done using cryptocurrencies have been registered in just past six months. Japan is one of the most crypto-friendly nations and dominates nearly 40-50% of the overall cryptocurrency market.

Sighting to concerns about the use of cryptos in such malicious activities, Japan updated its laws this year in April and has now asked exchanges to report any such suspected cases of money laundering. Moreover, in October, the Japanese government also started giving licenses to crypto-exchanges to operate within the country. Such steps have helped the National Police Agency (NPA) to keep a close watch on suspicious activities related to money laundering.

Upon the disclosure of the crypto-exchanges, the police agency has forwarded all the suspected cases further to special investigative bodies of Japan. An NPA operator said in a statement We want to take countermeasures by collaborating with relevant ministries and agencies as well as business operators.”

The agency report also has suspected cases registered by banks, lenders and insurance companies in the past three years till 2016. Over 1.1 million suspected cases have been registered of which 16.2% belong to the members of organized groups. Also, the police agency has registered a total of 1077 cases of which 21.4% show an involvement of criminal gangsters.

However, it is not that Japan is the only country who has put some monetary agencies to look after these suspicious activities. Even the Australian government has asked authorities to include Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies into the country’s existing AML/CFT regulation.

Malaysian authorities too have expressed similar concerns back in September when the governor of Malaysia's Bank Negara - Tai Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said We hope to come out with guidelines on cryptocurrencies before the end of the year: in particular, those relating to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. We want to ensure that there are clear guidelines for those who want to participate in this sector.”