‘Bitcoin is a small player even in illegal transactions’

money-laundering30 Jan 2013 / Russia Today – It is true that a small percentage of Bitcoin transactions are illegal, but the majority of illegal goods are bought with US dollars, the primary currency used in the international trade in illicit goods, economist Mark Thornton told RT.

On January 27 US federal charges were made public against two men accused of operating a bitcoin exchange business in connection with the ongoing investigation involving the Silk Road online marketplace. Robert Faiella and Charlie Shrem were arrested within hours of each other and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Some experts believe the arrest of Shrem the CEO of the bitcoin exchange service BitInstant, and that bitcoin was used in illicit trade, could weaken its position.

“This is terrible for the bitcoin market at least temporarily. But this was a political event, not a legal or judicial event, this arrest. It was a political event meant to intimidate people in the bitcoin space and it was a perfectly foreseeable event as well,” Mark Thornton told RT.

Thornton claims that though bitcoin was used in criminal transactions, its share in illicit trade is far less than that of the dollar.

“Bitcoin is a small player even in illegal transactions. The US dollar is actually the major facilitator for the illegal transactions in drugs, human trafficking, all sorts of nasty businesses. Most of that trade is done with the US dollar, not bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small player, a small percentage of its transactions are illegal, that’s true, but the majority of the illegal goods [are bought] for US dollars, the primarily player in international trade in illicit items,” he said….. Read more


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