Does Bitcoin Attract Criminals?

There has been increasing interest in Bitcoin by not only everyday people and banks but also by criminals. The bitcoin gained a lot of popularity on websites such as The Silkroad, which is a sort of marketplace for illicit paraphernalia, guns, drugs, and many more things which are illegal. It didn’t make sense to buy drugs or guns over the internet with dollars because those dollars could be traced directly from the purchaser to the seller. Bitcoin provided a safe and anonymous opportunity to make these transactions under the radar without raising red flags to criminal justice institutions. The system of bitcoin, the blockchain, protects the user’s’ privacy and, by nature, becomes very attractive to people who may be making illegal transactions and do not want law enforcement seeing what they are buying.

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Although there has been a development in use by criminals, this is not the only takeaway from this technological innovation. For example, Ashley Gold, a prominent writer of technology, says some doctors and medical practices accept payments of bitcoin for different services. Patients find, she notes, that they are able to check symptoms or receive routine treatment online using the bitcoin and avoid the hassle of visiting a doctor’s office (1). This obviously comes with its own set of complications, such as exploiting people’s trust of doctors could have a severe financial consequence for the patient. Nevertheless, Gold notes that legitimate doctors find that accepting Bitcoin provides one definite privacy protection by taking transactions out of the hands of credit card companies and removing their access to protected health information (PHI) (1). This is only one example of law abiding businesses, both small and large, accepting bitcoin as a form of payment.

2 thoughts on “Does Bitcoin Attract Criminals?

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