The three day Global Conference on Money Laundering and Digital Currencies, organized jointly by Interpol, Europol, and the Basel Institute on Governance, wrapped up January 18, 2017 in Qatar. In attendance was over four hundred financial crimes investigators and experts, looking to gain an understanding of what is needed to detect and fight crimes involving cryptocurrencies.
The Crypto Capitalism Center is a research project that collects and analyzes data on fintech and the rise of the bitcoin economy. Founded in 2014 by Jean-Philippe Vergne, a professor at Ivey Business School in Ontario, Canada, the data is used to publish unbiased, high quality research papers and to develop educational material. Since a lot of the existing publicly available research has been done with a definite slant toward whatever side of the bitcoin / fintech table you are on, the work done by the Center will be a valuable resource to regulators, policy makers, and others needing accurate information.
Within the industry, there is a divide in opinion as to whether or not it is a good idea to use web wallets. The lack of trust toward governments and financial institutions, as well as losses suffered due to some unscrupulous exchange operators and other scams, has left a bitter mark on a lot of people. This group believes that everyone should hold onto their own cryptocurrencies. What many of them fail to consider are the obstacles mass adoption faces if the only option people have is to store their funds on a downloaded desktop or mobile wallet.
Downloading a wallet, whether it is for bitcoin or another digital currency, has been a tough sell with the mainstream public. Whether it is because they erroneously feel you need a great deal of technology knowledge, distrust and fear downloading anything, or they simply suffer from sheer cryptocurrency bewilderment, it is clear there needs to be some sort of bridge that makes it both easier to get started and has a degree of familiarity people can relate to.
In the United States alone, Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are on track to inherit around $12 trillion from their savings-conscious parents who were raised in the era of the Great Depression. Over the next thirty years, these boomers will pass on an estimated $30 trillion to their Generation X children. These two events are on track to make up the largest transfer of wealth in history.
There is however, another potential wealth transfer brewing that could end up being the greatest of them all…
Wherever there is money to be made, there will always be crafty scam artists with complex plans to bilk naive and unsuspecting investors out of their money. Since bitcoin and dozens of other digital currencies are proving to be very lucrative investments, it comes as no surprise to find criminals surfacing, pretending to be legitimate members of the digital currency industry.
Aside from the illegal ‘pump and dump’ schemes that were commonplace with many of the early fly-by-night cryptocurrencies, there are scarier scenarios involving pyramid schemes that have the potential to do a lot of damage to the industry’s reputation. The Ponzi or Pyramid may involve the criminal using a legitimate cryptocurrency, but the ones that may have the most painful impact on their victims are those ‘currencies’ created solely to run the scheme. These fraudulent acts have nothing to do with digital currency and everything to do with criminals preying on easy targets that buy into their get-rich-quick pitches. Unfortunately, as we have witnessed time and time again, that is not how the story will be portrayed in the mainstream media – they will find a way to blame bitcoin.