Crypto crime numbers might be on the rise, but the FBI certainly isn’t taking this activity lightly. Kyle Armstrong – a leading FBI agent – has announced that the agency currently has 130 on-going cases related to crypto activity and dark web drug sales. Given how prevalent this once was, the FBI’s public admittance represents an example of how seriously it’s taking this new form of crime.
Thousands of Cases on the Table
Armstrong was at the Crypto Evolved conference when he announced the figure. On top of revealing the number of active cases, he also gave a hint to the level of workload that the FBI was currently facing when it came to crypto-related crime. He revealed that the 130 was just “a small sliver” of the task at hand, with the FBI monitoring “thousands of cases.” Statements and figures like this prove that there is something of a crypto crime wave occurring in North America right now. Armstrong noted that there has been an increase in illegal activity facilitated by cryptocurrency payments.
From Drug Sales to Kidnapping
The 130 cases that Armstrong was referring too specifically span various different crimes, including illicit drug sales, ransomware attacks, money laundering, human trafficking, and kidnapping. It’s the former of these crimes that is most under the microscope in the eyes of the FBI. America is in the grips of an opioid epidemic, as the country is flooded with both prescription and non-prescription drugs. The FBI believes that the dark web is playing a role in the epidemic, with approximately 10% of all transactions taking place via illegal online marketplaces. In 2017, the Global Drug Survey believed the figure to be around the same, so the FBI’s statistics on the matter appear accurate.
The Crypto Crime Struggle Continues
The FBI’s Virtual Currency Initiative is only three-years old, with Armstrong at the helm. He has admitted that the initiative has faced struggles, as while the underlying blockchain technology makes it easier to trace cryptos than cash, the general anonymity of transactions remains challenging. Back in February, a 24-month study of the dark web ecosystem revealed that Bitcoin could soon lose its title as the most popular currency on dark web markets. Consumer annoyance regarding high transaction costs and crowded network traffic seems to even be turning criminals towards other, cheaper alternatives.