When it comes to criticism of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency-related firms, one of the most common talking points is its possible use of cryptocurrency in the funding of crime. The sentiment has been repeatedly brought up as Facebook tries to get approval for the Libra token and continues to linger on. It is not helped by the fact that several times, dark web criminals have been uncovered using cryptocurrency to fund their activities and receive payments and as long as cryptocurrency tries to move to a new phase of maturity, this talking point is likely to come up.
On November 11, 2019 interview with the Hill, John McAfee stated that it is not the responsibility of crypto-related firms to stop crypto-related crime.
Not Our Responsibility
In the interview, McAfee argues that it is unreasonable for governments to expect cryptocurrency firms to help them prevent crime related to cryptocurrency and that he is hopeful that “societal impact of giving people freedom from an overburden and corrupted government” trumps “what small part criminals are going to play in this technology.”
“You can’t put that responsibility on me as an entrepreneur. You can’t require me to assist you in preventing what might be a future crime,” he said.
In the early days of cryptocurrency, not a lot was required of crypto firms in terms of preventing any crime that might take place making use of cryptocurrency but as time has gone on, this has changed. For example, exchanges are now being required to perform know-your-customer checks as well as the reporting of their customers to tax agencies to ensure that they have been tax compliant. However, in terms of cryptocurrency-related crime, there is only so much the exchanges can do and McAfee argues that it is not their responsibility.
It is, however, likely that’s governmental agencies will still make this requirement of crypto-related businesses as the United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announced that they have seen record numbers of reports of crypto-related criminal activity and that it has exceeded 1,500 a month at this point. Even as cryptocurrency moves into the next phase of maturity, there will obviously be more need for checks and balances.