Mafia increasingly using crypto payments

Mafiosi are increasingly turning to cryptocurrencies to cover their tracks, the Italian Anti-Mafia Directorate (DIA) have told German media outlet Zeit Online.

The anti-mafia police division outlined criminal behavior for the media and argued that all criminal organization had an interest in digital assets.

DIA also provided a report that focused on criminal activity during the first half of 2020, which is the division’s most recent data.

“Ndrangheta, the country’s strongest and most powerful criminal syndicate, are growing more and more attuned to modern tools like cryptocurrency and the deep web”, the report said.

Digital assets have been a prevalent way of paying for synthetic drugs with trading activity increasing during the pandemic. While digital assets have been used before to facilitate crime, the activity really picked up during the early months of the pandemic, DIA explained.

Analytics firm Chainalysis, have reported that the overall number of customers on the dark web has fallen since 2019, but the remaining ones have been buying at higher value. DIA noted that criminals were increasingly turning to currencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Tether.

Blockchain Research Lab co-founder Ingo Fiedler confirmed that mafia and other criminal syndicates were increasingly relying on cryptocurrencies to carry out their payments and stay under law enforcement’s radar. They have a point. While DIA can pinpoint the rough volumes of crypto traded for illicit purposes, it cannot pinpoint the culprits – for now.

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Updated: 08/27/2021 — 10:01