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A security conference is underway in Hague today, with enforcement officials and industry professionals coming together to identify new ways in which the EU can start clamping down on “the abuse of virtual currencies for illegal activities”.
These criminal activities include acts of money laundering, funding terrorism and anonymously trading illegal goods across ‘darkweb’ type marketplaces.

The conference will also seek to identify ways in which the EU police force can track seemingly anonymous transactions that utilise privacy-based coins such as Monero, Dash, Zcash, Bitcoin Private and Verge to fund illegal activities. Up until now, enforcement agencies have had limited capacity to deal with this kind of new age cyber crime, often leaving it up to the exchanges themselves to ensure that KYC and AML measures are adhered to.

Now that figures of digital assets used to facilitate crime is believed to be on the rise, with the Europol Director estimating that now over 4% of all European crime proceeds are being processed using cryptocurrencies, the European Union is being forced to take a more pragmatic approach.

It is likely that we’ll see stricter user registration processes and potentially asset freezing capabilities on crypto exchanges emerge as a result of these talks. While this still doesn’t tackle the issue of privacy coins, it does mark the start of regulatory authorities fighting back to tame this illegal activity before it gets worse.

Right now, this surface issue of digital assets being used in criminal activities represents a very small piece of a much larger and deeper crypto problem threatening the industry. While international agencies remain primarily concerned with tackling the many millions of US dollars processed using cryptocurrencies, the wider community continues to suffer from crypto hacks, crypto-jacking and relentless phishing scams worth $billions on a daily basis, without international agency support.