Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin transactions are not anonymous and, in fact, are a "poor instrument" for laundering the proceeds of crime.
"The ledger of all transactions is available forever," says Nicolas Christin, Assistant Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in the United States. "Go try to sell that to a guy who is trying to launder the proceeds of their drug transactions. It doesn't sound very attractive, does it?
"You're probably going to be killed before you even finish your sentence because it sounds like a pretty terrible idea to launder money."
Even Bitcoin transactions that are run through a purported anonymity tool known as a "mixer" are easy to trace, says Christin, who specializes in computer and information systems security.
To make matters worse for anyone trying to sell the Bitcoin system as a money laundering tool to criminals, the risk of their money being stolen is high. "The failure rate of Bitcoin intermediaries is approximately 45%, with many of them taking all their customers' money with them when they collapse," says Christin.
Christin will explain how Bitcoin works and its fallibilities in a session entitled 'Bitcoin and Financial Crime' that will take place at The 3rd Annual OffshoreAlert Conference Europe in London on November 10-11, 2014. He will be joined by Canadian attorney Christine Duhaime, who is writing the world's first law book and Bitcoin and other digital currencies covering regulation, law and policy.
The theme of the conference is "Financial Intelligence and Investigations", with an emphasis on offshore finance. There will be 20 sessions for providers, clients and investigators of financial products and services. All with a view to helping them reduce their risk of becoming a victim of financial crime and, if that has already happened, providing a road-map to recovering assets.
Start planning before you go on your summer holidays. The earlier you register, the better the price. A limited number of Pre-Sale Tickets are available until August 13 for only £545 - a saving of £300 on the regular ticket price. Register here today.
To find out more about The 3rd Annual OffshoreAlert Conference Europe, visit www.OffshoreAlertConference.com.