The growing popularity of cryptocurrencies has drawn the attention of more than just investors looking to profit. The decentralized nature of virtual assets has made it a popular means of payment for bad actors. From scammers and money launderers reports now reveal that contract killers in Russia are also accepting crypto payments.
According to a report from local media outlet TASS today, Konstantin Komarda, head of the Investigative Committee’s cybercrimes department, Russian Hitmen accept cryptocurrencies for their services.
“For example, in cases of contract killings, it was established that one of the cryptocurrencies was used as a means of payment,” he stated.
Komarda added that the cybercrimes department is currently investigating multiple cases involving “professional cybercriminals” who are also IT experts, “feel confident in the cyber environment,” plan their crimes accordingly, using various tools like virtual currencies and VPN services to maintain anonymity.
The use of cryptocurrencies makes it hard for law enforcement agencies to track clients who are ordering illegal services or goods. These transactions pass through multiple different anonymous crypto wallets “where they are carefully washed out among tens of thousands of other transactions” before it reached the receiver.
Nikita Soshnikov, lawyer and director of crypto exchange Alfacash, noted in a statement to media outlet Decrypt, that such statements from high ranking officials have solid ground, but they are voiced in such a way that it negatively affects the credibility of cryptocurrencies as a part of the financial system.
“I think that cash is still the absolute leader as a means of settlement in any illegal business and corruption schemes, in fact, due to the same characteristics—anonymity, lack of a financial trace, the difficulty of identifying the ultimate beneficiary,” Soshnikov noted.
“But we don’t see any serious discussions about limiting the use of cash by individuals, as well about proper identification of users in the crypto industry.”
He summarized that current regulations must be amended to combat money laundering as it is “long overdue.”
Crypto Crimes on the rise
This isn’t the only instance where cryptocurrencies have been leveraged for illicit activities. As previously reported by The Daily Chain, late last year a man was arrested for sending Bitcoin to assist captured ISIS militants in escaping from the prison camps in northern Syria, controlled by the Kurds.