Blockchain’s Perfect Storm: Removing Money Laundering from the Financial System

Blockchain’s Perfect Storm: Removing Money Laundering from the Financial System

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Today, banks and financial markets refuse to share information that can prevent money launderers and fraudsters from operating in the shadows, in the gaps between market participants. But now the situation is changing. As Grant Blaisdell, co-founder and COO of Coinfirm.io says: “Blockchain has the potential to completely eliminate fraud, money laundering and criminal activity from our financial and banking systems.” This is the first in a three-part report that looks at Anti-money laundering (AML) and the efforts of the Blockchain community to bring everyone together to rid the financial markets of fraudsters, criminals and those who seek to use the financial system for the bad ends. Compliance costs skyrocket Remembering back to 2012, HSBC had to pay the U.S. authorities $1.9 bln in fines for not identifying and distinguishing bad actors from good, through the handling of a huge volume of questionable transactions from unreliable sources. The question remains: did they really know or were the systems that are meant to flag the risks inadequate? How did HSBC get this so wrong over a long period across many sovereign jurisdictions? Does this continue to highlight the fundamental issue for banks and all financial institutions the challenge to accurately identify each party …

Elliptic Launches Bitcoin Blockchain Visualization Tool

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Bitcoin startup Elliptic has announced a new blockchain visualization tool that draws connections between several well-known dark markets and bitcoin exchanges. Called the ‘Bitcoin Big Bang’, the feature is part of an offering aimed at businesses looking to beef up their anti-money laundering efforts. The tool, which displays an interactive web of blockchain entities, shows how Silk Road, for example, connects to several ‘Known Exchanges’ currently operating. Elliptic CEO James Smith told CoinDesk the UK company intends to launch an API in July that will offer a broader range of information to participating clients, a group that will likely include exchanges and other companies that handle bitcoins on behalf of customers. According to Smith, the identities of the exchanges on the tool were withheld because “we thought it would be more damaging to their business and our relationship to name-and-shame”, stressing that the goal of the project isn’t to reduce blockchain privacy but to put more information in the hands of companies that need to stay compliant. He told CoinDesk: “We want to help those companies in a more rigorous way to look out for transactions that might be related to criminal activity.” The announcement reflects a shift towards compliance for the bitcoin custodian, whichlaunched last year …