A research conducted by Melbourne’s RMIT University estimated that Australian criminals who have employed cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, in their schemes had received harsher sentences than those who used fiat.
The study outlined the role of digital assets on the Dark Web, claiming they are among the main payment methods supported there.
Less Mercy to Criminals Using Crypto
The analysis reviewed 59 cases involving people who have used cryptocurrencies in their offenses between 2013 and 2022. Nearly 80% were tied to drug trafficking, while the remaining charges included money laundering and firearms.
Lisanne Adam – co-author of the study – said judges viewed digital assets as a sophisticated factor in the crimes and thus slapped wrongdoers with harsher punishments:
“One reason for this is that cryptocurrency is the only method of payment on dark web marketplaces, and sentencing judges are keen to send a message to deter potential offenders.”
She further explained that digital assets are attractive to criminals because they have the ability to facilitate “seamless global transfers without the friction of the traditional banking system and in a way that can be difficult to identify.”
Nonetheless, Adam believes the magistrates need to adapt to the new technology and give relevant sentences based on the crimes and not the used payment methods:
“There is a risk that law enforcement prosecutors characterize cryptocurrency as a marker of sophistication in crime, which is not always the case. Law enforcement need to effectively determine the level of sophistication in the crime and present a fair case.”
Crypto Becomes More Popular in Australia
An Independent Reserve study recently determined that more than 25% of Aussies (as of the end of 2022) were HODLers. The asset class is much more intriguing for the younger generations, with 40% of the respondents aged 25-34 having some crypto exposure. In comparison, less than 10% of those above 65 years old have hopped on the bandwagon.
Crypto awareness was also on a high level in the Land Down Under. Bitcoin remained the most recognizable digital currency, with 90.8% of the participants being aware of its existence. Around 43% had some knowledge about Ethereum, while the next most famous assets were Dogecoin (DOGE), Cardano (ADA), Ripple (XRP), Solana (SOL), and Tether (USDT).
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