Europol calls Bitcoin privacy wallets, CoinJoins and mixers ‚threat

Europol wants to take action against Bitcoin or other crypto currencies that provide financial privacy protection.

They see mixing Bitcoin via wallets such as Wasabi as a „serious threat“.

This can be read in the report Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment (IACTA) 2020. A privacy coin like Monero is also undesirable. The authorities want to know who is doing the transaction.
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Europol about Bitcoin

Europol is located in front of the European Police Office. It is an investigative organization that clusters different police forces from various European countries. They now issue a report containing a number of strikingly concrete ‚threats‘.

The research focuses on, among other things:

wallets that facilitate so-called CoinJoins, such as Wasabi and Samourai.
Centralized mixing services such as MyCryptoMixer and other commercial parties

These are methods to mix bits of Bitcoin (UTXO’s) with other users, in order to get more financial privacy.

It’s not the first time that Europol has focused on these kinds of techniques. In June we already had some comments about this. Then they already took a closer look at privacywallet Wasabi.

By the way: with the advent of Taproot, the price of doing CoinJoins drops, which can increase demand. But it doesn’t stop with these mixers, because Europol has more to offer.

Decentralized marketplaces

The report also identifies decentralized protocols for the trading of goods as a ‚high-priority threat‘. An example of this is OpenBazaar.

„Criminals are beginning to use privacy-oriented, decentralized marketplaces, such as OpenBazaar and, to sell their illegal goods.

By the way, OpenBazaar seemed to have to close its doors due to financial problems. An anonymous donor came to the rescue of the platform, which means that it will remain in existence until at least the end of the year. Europol specifically reports that it has ‚thousands of downloads on Android‘.

They also mention that Bitcoin is the most popular payment method on the dark web, especially because of its growing adoption, reputation and ease of use. But Monero is also doing well, followed by other privacy points such as Zcash and Dash.

„These privacy tokens can be a significant obstacle to investigation and law enforcement.

Financial privacy

How should you look at this news? Isn’t Bitcoin such a good development? Isn’t it a big criminal circuit?

Ironically, published payment processor SWIFT published another two weeks report stating that Bitcoin is not popular as a tool for money laundering. Looking at the FinCEN Files, banks are no sweethearts either, with global money laundering of $2,000 billion.

In addition, Bitcoin is neutral, apolitical and does not discriminate. It works the same for everyone, whether you’re a retailer or a criminal. Privacy is a right and so is financial privacy.

Everyone has curtains in the house, don’t they? And everyone locks the door when he or she goes to the toilet, doesn’t he or she? It is not the lock and the curtains that are wrong. Like Bitcoin, they’re just resources.