Rui Carvalho, Chair of the EAST Payments Task Force (EPTF), attended the 5th Virtual Currencies Conference organised by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) in The Hague (from 19-21 June 2018). Over 300 participants from 40 countries attended the event, which focused on cryptocurrencies and how to foster the legitimate use of this virtual monetary system which is often abused by hackers, international drug dealers and the money movers of organised crime.
While the majority of participants came from law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors’ offices, key experts from well-known cryptocurrency services were also in attendance – the companies, who work closely with law enforcement agencies, foster the legitimate use of virtual currencies by implementing strong Know Your Customer (KYC) policies. Private sector participants included Bitcoin.de, Bitfinex, BitPanda, Bitstamp, BitPay, Blockchain.info, CEX, Coinfloor, Coinhouse, Cryptopia, Cubits, Kraken, LocalBitcoins, OKCoin, SpectroCoin and Xapo.
This year twelve operational case studies were presented, where suspects were detected through cryptocurrency tracing, including phishing incidents, DDoS extortion, take downs of dark web marketplaces and malicious cryptocurrency mining. The legitimate use of blockchain technologies was also discussed, including the use of cryptocurrencies for trading/investment activities, payment methods for goods and services and as a store of value.
In order to practically demonstrate the benefits of the tamper-proof decentralised ledger technology, all speakers received Europol’s certificates permanently stored and fully traceable within Bitcoin blockchain. Europol therefore became the first law enforcement organisation to award active participants blockchain validated certificates.