Europol Has Identified a New Crypto Criminal Trend
With the rise in the popularity of cryptocurrencies, instances of fraud, hacking and unauthorized fund transfers have also shot up. So, premier law enforcement agencies have to move quickly to deal with a new technology including developing an understanding of how it operates. The latest instance comes from the European Union, where Europol have identified a new trend while investigating criminal cases in the field of cryptocurrencies.
Altcoins – the New Favorite
The law enforcement agency of the European Union, better known as the Europol (European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation), have identified that crypto criminals now have their new favorites among altcoins, as opposed to the flagship crypto, Bitcoin. Accordingly, Europol will now be putting privacy coins such as Monero, Zcash, and Dash under its radar for investigations.
“We can see a quite obvious and distinct shift from Bitcoin to cryptocurrencies that can provide a higher level of privacy. So basically, you can achieve a higher level of privacy using these ‘altcoins’, and these altcoins are either using stealth as the basis, like Monero. There are also coins like Dash that do not have stealth addresses, they have transparent addresses, but they have a mixing process that is part of the protocol,” said Jarek Jacubchek, a Europol cyber-crime analyst, to Business Insider.
Three Key Reasons for the Shift
The shift from Bitcoin to privacy-based alt-coins is a result of three main factors:
- Privacy coins such as Monero, Dash, and Zcash are better at preserving the anonymity of the transaction and the transacting parties. While it’s easier to track the source of a transaction in Bitcoin-like public blockchains, altcoins that offer privacy use technology and processes such as stealth addresses, mixing process, obfuscation, and dummy transactions to better obscure transaction particulars. So, in a way, they’re also better at hiding a crypto criminal’s particulars, making it difficult for an investigating agency to trace back the source and particulars of a transaction under suspicion.
- With the revelation of more and more crypto crimes involving Bitcoin, and its investigators getting better and better at tracking down the involved parties, crypto-criminals have begun to view altcoins as the new unfamiliar territory for investigators, which makes it difficult to track and trace them.
- Diversification is one of the most popular risk-minimizing techniques being used by investors. From what it appears, crypto criminals have now also taken to diversifying their theft across currencies to minimize the risk of getting tracked.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos