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Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Activity

Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Activity


The use of digital currencies has been on the rise since their introduction in 2008. This increase in usage is based on the ability of people to use digital currencies, cryptocurrency for trading (Kuo Chuen, Guo & Wang, 2017). Additionally, various characteristics of digital currencies allow individuals to use cryptocurrencies for both legal and illegal purposes. Accordingly, debates have arisen on the part cryptocurrencies play in promoting criminal activity. Subsequently, analyzing and assessing the impacts of cryptocurrency use on criminal activities will shed light on the significance and role of cryptocurrencies in society.

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Section 1: What is the topic?

The topic of the research project is “Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Activity.” From this topic, the aspects for research are evident to be criminal activities and cryptocurrencies. In most cases, when the idea of cryptocurrency crosses someone’s mind, one can think about criminal activities occurring on the dark web (Butler, 2019). However, this is not only the case, as cryptocurrencies are not only used for illegal transactions but also for legal transactions (Hendrickson & Luther, 2021). Aside from illegal trade, digital currencies can also be used for tax evasion, which is also a crime. However, some of these aspects also apply to money or cash, begging the question, of which is better in criminal activity. Would it be money that is untraceable and has been used by criminals long before digital currencies were invented or cryptocurrencies which are digital currencies recorded in a digital ledger?

Section 2: What is the controversy?

The controversy in question is the role of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities. On the one hand, individuals argue that cryptocurrency promotes criminal activities, while on the other hand, individuals argue that cryptocurrency minimizes criminal activities. This prolonged debate can be analyzed and simplified using research to create a common ground on which individuals might agree or get swayed from their perspectives.

Various arguments support the role of cryptocurrency in criminal activity. One argument is based on the characteristics of cryptocurrencies. The first property is its digital currency status, indicating that anyone with access to an online platform can access it, including criminals (Weaver, 2018). People acquiring digital currencies cannot be regulated since anyone can access them. Another property is the hidden identity of participants in a transaction. Despite the recording of transactions on digital ledgers, the participants of these transactions are hidden, and therefore, criminals can transact freely without fear of getting exposed. With a revealed identity, individuals using digital currencies will be precautious enough to not get involved in illegal transactions branding them as criminals. Another property is the lack of censorship of transactions. The lack of a third party to oversee these transactions leaves criminals open to conducting their business. With censorship, illegal transactions will be reduced since third parties will oversee the transactions.

In contrast, various arguments illustrate that cryptocurrencies will do more to reduce than promote criminal activity. The first argument is the comparison between money and digital currencies in promoting criminal activities. Money is untraceable, and therefore, individuals can use the money to purchase anything, including criminals, to fund their criminal activities (Butler, 2019). This indicates that the transaction and the participants will remain anonymous throughout the transactions. On the other hand, the transaction will be recorded with cryptocurrency, implying that the ease of conducting criminal activities will be limited. This indicates that cryptocurrency will reduce the number and rate of criminal activities. Secondly, the presence of regulations on some cryptocurrency platforms monitors transactions. Accordingly, criminals cannot use these platforms to transact, limiting their activities.

Section 3: Your tentative thesis statement

The impacts of cryptocurrency use on criminal activity indicate reduced criminal activities because of the presence of the digital ledger, the presence of regulators on certain digital currency platforms, and the reduced use of cash with the use of cryptocurrencies.


Butler, S. (2019). Criminal use of cryptocurrencies: a great new threat or is cash still king? Journal Of Cyber Policy, 4(3), 326-345. doi: 10.1080/23738871.2019.1680720

Hendrickson, J., & Luther, W. (2021). Cash, crime, and cryptocurrencies. The Quarterly Review Of Economics And Finance. doi: 10.1016/j.qref.2021.01.004

Kuo Chuen, D., Guo, L., & Wang, Y. (2017). Cryptocurrency: A New Investment Opportunity?. The Journal Of Alternative Investments, 20(3), 16-40. doi: 10.3905/jai.2018.20.3.016

Weaver, N. (2018). Risks of cryptocurrencies. Communications Of The ACM, 61(6), 20-24. doi: 10.1145/3208095


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Follow the directions below for the completion of the Research Proposal
▪ Purpose: The purpose of the research proposal is to help you understand your project, gain direction and feedback on your project, and establish a blueprint for your project.

Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Activity

Cryptocurrencies and Criminal Activity

▪ Description: In this assignment, you will create a research proposal consisting of three sections:
▪ Section 1: What is the topic? (100-150 words)
▪ Section 2: What is the controversy? Include paragraphs that detail both sides of the controversy. (300-400 words)
▪ Section 3: Your tentative thesis statement (one to two sentences)
▪ Research proposal example
All sources must be documented via APA citations and references.

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