Australia is blaming the growth in online banking and digital currencies like Bitcoin for a huge increase in organized crime in the country’s financial sector.
According to a Finextra news article, citing a report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the government agency estimated money laundering and other financial crimes committed by organized gangs is costing Australia $28.43 billion each year. The ACIC raised particular concerns about eCommerce businesses and Bitcoin exchanges, arguing both are helping to facilitate organized crime through lack of transaction transparency due to encryption.
"Bitcoin, which can be traded anonymously and is as good as cash, is traded now on most significant international exchanges," said justice minister Michael Keenan, according to Finextra.
In addition to concerns about Bitcoin and crime, the report also noted money laundering through online gambling websites has become common as many are owned and operated by international crime syndicates. One example, Tabcorp Holdings, was fined $35 million by the Australian government for breaching the country’s anti-money laundering rules and regulations.
The report on the part of the ACIC comes at a time when cryptocurrency, namely Bitcoin, is moving mainstream thanks to a euphoric rise in the value of the digital coins. Earlier this week Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, two popular cryptocurrencies, saw their prices rebound in trading. Ethereum, a competing cryptocurrency, remained under pressure.
According to a news report in MarketWatch, Bitcoin's worth was up 2 percent on the day, reaching $4,139.87. The Bitcoin blockchain had hit a low of $3,687 earlier in trading. At one point, the report noted, Bitcoin’s worth was in correction territory, which occurs after a 10 percent or more decline from a recent peak.
Toward the end of July, though, investors and entrepreneurs out of Asia dropped news they were planning to unleash Bitcoin Cash. The goal behind this new blockchain currency is to process more transactions every 10 seconds. Currently, the tenants of Bitcoin only allow for five transactions per second. Developers have shared warnings that increasing the amount of data that can be processed may lead to problems on both the individual and corporate level.