The Bitcoin narrative in its earlier years was guided to a larger audience due mainly to illegal activity. For the majority, the perspective of the cryptocurrency was that it was an untraceable, anonymous, and malicious piece of tech that hackers and iniquitous crime syndicates only used; however, this thinking is far from the truth. Still, more specifically, it was the infamous online black market known as the “Silk Road.”
Due to Bitcoin’s inherent nature that allows it to be moved and stored outside of the control of any government or institution, every single transaction is recorded on a publicly accessed immutable ledger. All crypto transactions, including Bitcoin, are entirely traceable, and the anonymity associated with crypto and crime is completely unfounded.
Reports from Chainalysis concluded that in 2019 only 2.1% (0.34% in 2020, 0.15% in 2021) of all cryptocurrency transactions accounted for were tied to criminal activity.
However, when BTC transactions are tied to criminal activity, the investigators’ job becomes more manageable in some ways – barring the challenge of correlating IP addresses and transactions. From a detective’s point of view, since the blockchain records everything, they are immediately given access to way more information than they traditionally would have been. In the past, if someone were to catch a drug dealer on the streets, you’ve caught them committing a single crime, whereas by utilizing the blockchain, you can uncover their entire criminal history – just like discovering their books.
According to the UN, criminal activity on the blockchain is a much smaller percentage than that of fiat currency, which is going down yearly.
When the public hears people like the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen, constantly repeating the mistaken opinion that crypto is mainly used for illegal purposes – they are being lied to, as these claims are demonstrably false.
Crypto is a very small issue compared to everything else that the Treasury Department has on its plate, so it is more likely that she hasn’t truly spent any time deeply considering it just yet. The Treasury is tasked with combating money laundering and terrorist financing. With such a small percentage of these concepts successfully utilizing the blockchain, they claimed that crypto is of particular concern to the establishment and isn’t looking at the bigger picture.