Skip to main content


Log in

Bitcoin, crypto-coins, and global anti-money laundering governance

  • Published:
Crime, Law and Social Change Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Crypto-coins (CCs) like Bitcoin are digitally encrypted tokens traded in peer-to-peer networks whose money laundering potential has attracted the attention of regulators, firms and the wider public worldwide. This article assesses the effectiveness of the global anti-money laundering regime in balancing both the challenges and opportunities presented by these novel ‘altcoins’. Two main arguments are advanced. First, the implications that crypto-coins presently pose for global anti-money laundering efforts stem less from the threats of their illicit uses as digital currencies and more from the opportunities presented by their underlying blockchain technologies. Second, despite several shortcomings, the risk-based approach pursued by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) strikes an effective balance between the existing threats and opportunities that crypto-coins currently present. Rather than a conclusive evaluation however this article stresses the need for continual monitoring and investigation of the wider ethical implications raised by CCs for global efforts to combat money laundering in an era of rapid technological change.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. CCs are often referred to as Bitcoins in a generic manner similar to tissues being called Kleenex.

  2. The estimated annual transaction volume in Bitcoin alone grew from $2 million to over $100 million between 2012 and 2015 [6]. For an interactive map of businesses accepting Bitcoin see

  3. Units of CCs are conventionally put in lowercase. Estimates vary regarding when precisely production of Bitcoin will peak, with some indicating the year 2040 and others a century later.

  4. Bitcoin competitors such as Blackcoin and Peercoin boast less restrictive aggregate limits through technical mechanisms that control increases in supply for instance to one percent annually.

  5. Section three below elaborates on the story of Mt. Gox.

  6. As economists William Luther and Josiah Olson succinctly put it, “Bitcoin is Memory” [17]. Computer scientists have noted the possibility however that CCs with “a famous transaction history” might be more valuable than more mundane CCs, thwarting their ability to serve as standardized unit of account [18].

  7. The problem of insuring that money that is transferred over long distances and borders is not simultaneously retained so that the same unit cannot be used by an individual to purchase goods more than once.

  8. The original Silk Road was shut down by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2013. The alleged creator of the website, the American Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for money laundering amongst other charges. Silk Road 2.0 was then closed down in 2014 following an international operation by police agencies from 17 different countries. Silk Road 3.0 once again opened in mid-2016 revealing the longer-term limit to international police crackdowns [32].

  9. Similarly, the worry that CCs may be used for terrorist financing remains more potential than proven [37, 38, 39, 40]. Contrary to initial reports, the perpetrators of the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks did not rely on CCs [41, 42].

  10. Europol ([49], p. 46) notes, but offers no supporting evidence of the claim that Bitcoin features “heavily in many EU law enforcement investigations, accounting over 40% of all identified criminal-to-criminal payments”.

  11. The hackers, technologists, and “wildcat bankers” [54] forming the CC community are renown for wariness of centralised authority. They tend to promote a world of small government and diminished state sovereignty.

  12. Although a longstanding practice, money laundering only formally became criminalised in the 1980s American ‘war on drugs’. With the more recent American-led ‘war on terror’, money laundering is also frequently conflated with terrorist financing [25]. Yet since these activities pose alternative problems for law enforcement and their entanglement hinders the fuller understanding of either form of financial crime [26] this analysis largely concentrates on the implications of CCs present to global-level efforts to combat the former.

  13. The money laundering potential of CCs attracted further formal attention in the European Union following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks as the European Commission ([85], p. 39) proposed to amend the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive to bring CC exchanges under existing AML laws and create “a central database registering [CC] users’ identities”.

  14. Though it should be noted that some two dozen firms, including the prominent exchange Coinbase, have remained in the state and applied for such a license.

  15. For a list of full members, associate members, and observers of the FATF see

  16. The FATF issued a second report in 2015 more specifically detailing the potential for CCs to be implicated in terrorist financing [108]. The case of an American teenager who had pled guilty to promoting- but not undertaking- efforts to fund the Islamic State through CCs was highlighted.

  17. Others yet critique the inherent difficulty in measuring effectiveness of AML policies ([116], p. 641).

  18. Miners are the producers of CCs who are rewarded with new CCs for verifying transactions. Brett Scott provides a useful comparison in likening these actors to a “network of clerks who check to see that participants actually have the funds they claim to have, and who then record a change to the decentralized blockchain ledger” ([21], p. 2). Originally indended to be undertaken by individual personal computers, the computing power required to profitably verify the growing number of transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain now requires specialised computer rigs. The complexity and expense of such operations has led to the formation of teams- also known as alliances, collectives or ‘pools’- of miners who now control large shares of Bitcoin mining. The size of these pools can be tracked at <>.

  19. For instance, BIS merely acknowledged that “distributed ledgers are an innovation that could have a range of impacts on many areas, especially on payment systems and services” [44].

  20. The ability to trace transaction is a major incentive. More generally however the fear of missing out on potential savings from payments servicing, the facilitation of further shifts away from the use of cash, and related enhanced ability to monitor transactions for both security and tax purposes. The latter is elaborated upon below.

  21. As Thomson Reuters Accelus puts it, “if sovereign governments move toward issuing digital currency, then competition may overwhelm private currency such as Bitcoin” ([133], p.12).

  22. See for instance the anonymisation method ‘CoinJoin’:

  23.; Bit Fog was linked to the laundering of stolen Bitcoins from a Chinese exchange in 2015 [152]. and create blacklists of userslaundering of stolen Bitcoins from a Chinese exchange


  1. Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Available at

  2. Wladawsky-Berger, I. (2014). Bitcoin and the internet of money. Wall Street Journal.

  3. Bjerg, O. (2016). How is bitcoin money? Theory, Culture & Society, 33(1), 53–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Selgin, G. (2015). Synthetic commodity money. Journal of Financial Stability, 17, 92–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Yermacka, D. (2015). Is bitcoin a real currency? An economic appraisal. In D. L. K. Chuen (Ed.), Handbook of digital currency: Bitcoin, innovation, financial instruments, and big data (pp. 31–43). London: Academic Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  6. PwC. (2015). Money is no object: Understanding the evolving cryptocurrency market. Accessed on 16 Aug 2016.

  7. PwC. “PwC launches new global technology team to harness Bitcoin technology”. 21 January. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  8. Graham, L. (2016). Bitcoin boosted by safe-haven demand after Trump victory. CNBC.

  9. McCrum, D. (2017) Bitcoin passes $1,000 but only number that matters is zero. Financial Times.

  10. Quandl. (2016). Bitcoin estimated transaction volume USD. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  11. Kocherlakota, N. R. (1998). Money is memory. Journal of Economic Theory, 81(2), 232–251.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Banque de France. (2013). The dangers linked to the emergence of virtual currencies: the example of bitcoins. Focus, 10.

  13. Arthur, C. (2013). Bitcoin now 'unit of account' in Germany. Guardian.

  14. Beer, C., & Weber, B. (2014). Bitcoin: the promise and limits of private innovation in monetary and payment systems. Monetary Policy & the Economy, 4(14), 53–66.

    Google Scholar 

  15. European Central Bank. (2015). Virtual currency schemes – a further analysis. ISBN 978–92–899-1560-1.

  16. Scott, B. (2016). How can cryptocurrency and blockchain technology play a role in building social and solidarity finance? (UNRISD Working Paper No. 2016-1).

  17. Cohen, B. (2016). The IPE of money revisited. Review of International Political Economy, p. 24.

  18. Moini, M. (2001). Toward a general theory of credit and money. Review of Austrian Economics, 14(4), 267–317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Maurer, B. (2005). Mutual life, limited: Islamic banking, alternative currencies, lateral reason. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. van Duyne, P. C., von Lampe, K., & Passas, N. (2002). Upperworld and underworld in cross-border crime. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Roberge, I. (2007). Misguided policies in the war on terror? The case for disentangling terrorist financing from money laundering. Politics, 27(3), 196–203.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Shields, P. (2005). When the ‘information revolution’ and the US security state collide: money laundering and the proliferation of surveillance. New Media & Society, 7(4), 483–512.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Stokes, R. (2013). Anti-money laundering regulation and emerging payment technologies. Banking & Financial Services Policy Report, 32(5), 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  24. DeNardis, L. (2014). The global war for internet governance. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  25. Zuboff, S. (2015). Big other: surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30, 75–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Murck, P. (2013). Beyond silk road: potential risks, threats, and promises of virtual Currencies [Hearing before the committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, 113th Congress, first session]. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.

  27. Rubenfeld, S. (2015). FATF pushes risk-based approach toward virtual currencies, services. Wall Street Journal.

  28. Choo, K.-K. R. (2015). Cryptocurrency and virtual currency: Corruption and money laundering/terrorism financing risks? In D. L. K. Chuen (Ed.), Handbook of digital currency: Bitcoin, innovation, financial instruments, and big data (pp. 283–307). London: Academic Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  29. Yelowitz, A., & Wilson, M. (2015). Characteristics of Bitcoin users: an analysis of Google search data. Applied Economics Letters, 22(13), 1030–1036.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Bryans, D. (2014). Bitcoin and money laundering: mining for an effective solution. Indiana Law Journal, 89(1), 441–472.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Nicholls, J. (2016a). Are decentralised currencies better at curing AML woes? Experts split. Blockchain Briefing.

  32. Her Majesty’s Treasury and Home Office. (2015). UK national risk assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing. Available at

  33. Brown, S. D. (2016). Cryptocurrency and criminality: the Bitcoin opportunity. The Police Journal, 89(4), 327–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures. (2015). CPMI Report on Digital currencies. Bank for International Settlements. Available at

  35. He, D., Habermeier, K., Leckow, R., Haksar, V., Almeida, Y., … & Verdugo-Yepes, C. (2016). Virtual currencies and beyond: initial considerations [IMF Staff Discussions Note SDN/16/03].

  36. Valcke, P., Vandezande, N., & van de Velde, N. (2015). The evolution of third party payment providers and cryptocurrencies under the EU’s upcoming PSD2 and AMLD4. [Working paper number 2015-001]. London: The SWIFT Institute.

  37. Cyber Intelligence Section and Criminal Intelligence Section. (2012). Bitcoin virtual currency: unique features present distinct challenges for deterring illicit activity. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Available at Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  38. American House Committee on Appropriations. (2013). Commerce, justice, science, and other related agencies appropriation bill, 2014. 113th United States Congress. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  39. Moore, T., & Christin, N. (2013). Beware the middleman: Empirical analysis of Bitcoin-exchange risk. In A.R. Sadeghi (Ed.), Financial cryptography and data security [FC 2013. Lecture notes in computer science, 7859] (pp. 25–33). New York: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

  40. Escritt, T. (2014). Police need powers to tackle virtual money laundering: Europol. Reuters.

  41. Weir, M. (2014). HSBC severs links with firm behind Bitcoin fund. BBC.

  42. McLannahan, B. (2017). US banks ‘wasting billions’ trying to track crime. Financial Times.

  43. Van Steinis, H. (2016). Handled right, blockchain could help banks and their customers. Financial Times.

  44. Hern, A. (2014). A history of bitcoin hacks. The Guardian.

  45. Bitfinex. (n.d.). Terms of Service. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  46. Southurst, J. (2013). World's largest Bitcoin exchange BTC China now requires ID. CoinDesk.

  47. Gatecoin. (n.d.) Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) policy summary statement. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  48. Bitstamp. (n.d.) Bitstamp limited anti-money laundering (“AML”) and counter terrorist financing (“CTF”) policy. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  49. CEX.IO. (n.d.). AML/KYC Policy. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  50. HitBTC. (n.d.) HitBTC terms of use. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  51. Hughes, S., & Middlebrook, S. (2014). Regulating cryptocurrencies in the United States: current issues and future directions. William Mitchell Law Review, 40, 813–844.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Digital Asset Transfer Authority (2015). Draft Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines. Available at:

  53. Meiklejohn, S., Pomarole, M., Jordan, G., Levchenko, K., Voelker, G. M., Savage, S., & McCoy, D. (2013). A fistful of bitcoins: characterizing payments among men with no names. Proceedings of the ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference, IMC, 127–139.

  54. Simser, J. (2015). Bitcoin and modern alchemy: in code we trust. Journal of Financial Crime, 22(2), 156–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Roberge, I. (2011). The Financial Action Task Force. In D. Held & T. Hale (Eds.), The Handbook of Transnational Governance Innovation (pp. 45–50). Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Jacobi, A. P. (2012). The FATF as the central promoter of the anti-money laundering regime. In K. S. Helgesson & U. Mörth (Eds.), Securitization, accountability and risk management: Transforming the public security domain (pp. 16–33). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Wong, J. (2016). Bitcoin exchanges can’t stop getting hacked, no matter what security system they use. Quartz.

  58. Bollen, R. (2013). The legal status of online currencies: are bitcoins the future? Journal of Banking and Finance Law and Practice, 24(3), 272–293.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Christopher, C. M. (2014). Whack-a-mole: why prosecuting digital currency exchanges won't stop online laundering. Lewis and Clark Law Review, 18(1), 1–36.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Elwell, C. K., Murphy, M. M., & Seitzinger, M. V. (2015). Bitcoin: questions, answers, and analysis of legal issues. Washington: Congressional Research Service.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Farmer, P. (2014). Speculative tech: the Bitcoin legal quagmire and the need for legal innovation. Journal of Business & Technology Law, 9(1), 85.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Penrose, K. L. (2013). Banking on Bitcoin: applying anti-money laundering and money transmitter laws. North Carolina Banking Institute, 18, 529‑551.

  63. Kiviat, T. I. (2015). Beyond Bitcoin: issues in regulating blockchain transactions. Duke Law Journal, 65, 569–608.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Pflaum, I., & Hateley, E. (2013). Bit of a problem: national and extraterritorial regulation of virtual currency in the age of financial disintermediation. Georgetown Journal of International Law, 45, 1169–1215.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Singh, K. (2015). New wild west: preventing money laundering in the Bitcoin network. Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, 13(1), 38–64.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Raymond, N. (2014). Bitcoin backer gets two years prison for illicit transfers. Reuters.

  67. Hudak, S. (2015). FinCEN fines Ripple Labs Inc. in first civil enforcement action against a virtual currency exchanger. Washington, DC: United States Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  68. Townend, D. (2015a). Credit union bribery concealed Bitcoin money laundering. Payments Compliance.

  69. Fung, B. (2015). Why the Justice Department is going after this Bitcoin exchange. Washington Post.

  70. Henning, P. (2015). The challenges of fighting money laundering. New York Times.

  71. Reynolds, J. (2002). The new US anti-money laundering offensive: will it prove successful? Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, 9(3), 3–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Smart, E. (2015). Top 10 countries in which Bitcoin is banned. CryptoCoinNews.

  73. Bank Indonesia. (2014). Statement of bank Indonesia related to Bitcoin and other virtual currency. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  74. European Central Bank. (2016). Opinion of the European Central Bank. Available at: Accessed 23 November.

  75. European Banking Authority. (2014). EBA Opinion on ‘virtual currencies’. (EBA/Op/2014/08).

  76. Eikelenboom, S., & Dobber, J. (2017). OM voert strijd op tegen witwassen via bitcoin. Financiele Dagblad.

  77. Engle, E. (2016). Is Bitcoin rat poison? Cryptocurrency, crime, and counterfeiting (CCC). Journal of High Technology Law, 16(2), 340–393.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies. (2015). Working Group Report. Available at: Accessed 24 November.

  79. Wright, A., & De Filippi, P. (2015). Decentralized blockchain technology and the rise of lex cryptographia. Available at SSRN 2580664.

  80. Tracfin. (2014). Regulating virtual currencies: recommendations to prevent virtual currencies from being used for fraudulent purposes and money laundering [Virtual Currencies Working Group Report]. Ministere des Finances et des Publics.

  81. del Castillo, M. (2015). The 'great Bitcoin exodus' has totally changed New York’s Bitcoin ecosystem. New York Business Journal.

  82. Van Valkenburgh, P. (2015). Tracking Bitcoin regulation state by state. CoinCentre.

  83. Nance, M. (forthcoming). The regime that the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering built. Crime, Law, and Social Change.

  84. Young, J. (2015). While other companies leave NY, Coinbase submits BitLicense application. Bitcoin Magazine.

  85. Townend, D. (2015b). Singapore PM makes blockchain leader case. Blockchain Briefing.

  86. Connell, J. (2014). Alderney: gambling, Bitcoin and the art of unorthodoxy. Island Studies Journal, 9(1), 69–78.

    Google Scholar 

  87. Nicholls, J. (2016b). Isle of man sees Blockchain through prism of e-gaming triumphs. Blockchain Briefing.

  88. Fernholz, T. (2015). Terrorism finance trackers worry ISIS already using Bitcoin. Defense One.

  89. Porter, T. (2003). Technology, governance and political Conflict in international industries. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  90. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2017). UNODC helps tackle bitcoin banking fraud and money laundering. Retrieved from

  91. Eyers, J. (2015). Why the blockchain will propel a services revolution. Australian Financial Review.

  92. Europol. (2015). Europol interpol makes cybercrime conference makes the case for multisector cooperation. . Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  93. Financial Action Task Force. (2016). International standards on combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation: the FATF recommendations. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.

  94. Amicelle, A. (2011). Towards a ‘new’ political anatomy of financial surveillance. Security dialogue, 42(2), 161–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  95. Slaughter, A. M. (2009). A new world order. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  96. Sabel, C. F., & Zeitlin, J. (2008). Learning from difference: the new architecture of experimentalist governance in the EU. European Law Journal, 14(3), 271–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  97. Financial Action Task Force. (2013). Guidance for a risk-based approach to prepaid cards, mobile payments and internet-based payment services. http://www.fatf Accessed 15 Aug 2016.

  98. Financial Action Task Force. (2014). Virtual currencies: key definitions and potential AML/CFT Risks: FATF Report. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.

  99. Financial Action Task Force. (2015a). Guidance for a risk-based approach: virtual currencies. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.

  100. Luther, W. J., & Olson, J. (2013). Bitcoin is memory. Journal of Prices & Markets, 3(3), 22–33.

    Google Scholar 

  101. Helleiner, E. (2002). The politics of global financial regulation: lessons from the fight against money laundering. In J. Eatwell & L. Taylor (Eds.), International capital markets: Systems in transition (pp. 177–204). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  102. Kern, A. (2001). The international anti-money-laundering regime: The role of the financial action task force. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 4(3), 231–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  103. Sharman, J. (2011). The money laundry: Regulating criminal finance in the global economy. New York: Cornell University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  104. Zoppei, V. (2015). Money laundering: a new perspective in assessing the effectiveness of the AML regime. The European Review of Organised Crime, 2(1), 130–148.

    Google Scholar 

  105. Tsingou, E. (2010). Global financial governance and the developing anti-money laundering regime: what lessons for international political economy? International Politics, 47(6), 617–637.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  106. Hülsse, R., & Kerwer, D. (2007). Global standards in action: insights from anti-money laundering regulation. Organization, 14(5), 625–642.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  107. Truman, E. M., & Reuter, P. (2004). Chasing dirty money: progress on anti-money laundering. Washington: Institute for International Economics.

    Google Scholar 

  108. Möser, M., Böhme, R., & Breuker, D. (2013). An inquiry into money laundering tools in the Bitcoin ecosystem. In eCrime Researchers Summit (eCRS). pp. 1‑14.

  109. Favarel-Garrigues, G., Godefroy, T., & Lascoumes, P. (2009). Les sentinelles de l’argent sale au quotidian: Les banques aux prises avec l’antiblanchiment. Paris: La Decouverte.

    Google Scholar 

  110. Liss, C., & Sharman, J. C. (2015). Global corporate crime-fighters: Private transnational responses to piracy and money laundering. Review of International Political Economy, 22(4), 693–718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  111. Pagliari, S. (2012). Making good financial regulation: Towards a policy response to regulatory capture. London: Grosvenor House Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  112. Campbell-Verduyn, M. (2016). Merely TINCering around: the shifting private authority of technology, information and news corporations. Business & Politics, 18(2), 143–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  113. Parker, L. (2015). Controversy arises as new Blockchain Alliance engages with US law enforcement. Brave New Coin.

  114. Europol. (2015). The internet organised crime threat assessment (IOCTA) 2015. The Netherlands: European Law Enforcement Agency (Europol). Accessed on Aug 16.

  115. Black, J., & Baldwin, R. (2012). When risk- based regulation aims low: Approaches and challenges. Regulation & Governance, 6(1), 2–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  116. De Koker, L. (2009). Identifying and managing low money laundering risk: perspectives on FATF's risk-based guidance. Journal of financial crime, 16(4), 334–352.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  117. G7 Germany. (2015). Leadersʼ declaration G7 summit 7–8 June 2015. Accessed 16 Aug 2016.

  118. Deloitte. (2015). State-sponsored cryptocurrency: adapting the best of Bitcoin’s innovation to the payments ecosystem. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  119. Spaven, E. (2015). Citi: UK Government Should Create Own Digital Currency. CoinDesk.

  120. Stafford, P. (2016). Canada experiments with digital dollar on blockchain. Financial Times.

  121. Sier, J. (2016). Chinese officials discuss bitcoin and their own digital currency. Sydney Morning Herald.

  122. Chanjaroen, C., & Roman, D. (2016). Singapore to test digital currency in latest Fintech initiative. Bloomberg.

  123. Eyers, J. (2016). Central banks look to the future of money with blockchain technology trial. Australian Financial Review.

  124. Higgins, S. (2016). Dutch Central Bank to create prototype blockchain-based currency. CoinDesk.

  125. Shan, H. P. (2015). Singapore-based Interpol centre creates virtual currency to fight crime. The Straight Times.

  126. Nicholls, J. (2015). Blockchain requires ‘regulatory war games’, says Harvard professor. Blockchain Briefing.

  127. Taylor, M. (2015). U.S. treasury official: ‘blockchain can solve compliance problems’. Blockchain Briefing.

  128. Identabit. (n.d.). We are Identabit.

  129. Institute of International Finance. (2015). Banking on the blockchain: reengineering the financial architecture.

  130. Basquill, J. (2015b). Isle of man: blockchain ‘reg tech’ just the beginning. Payments Compliance.

  131. Azhar, S., & Zaharia, M. (2016). Singapore to launch blockchain project for interbank payments. Reuters.

  132. Prisco, G. (2015). Leaked chainalysis roadmap angers Bitcoin community. Bitcoin Magazine.

  133. McMillan, R. (2014). Hacker dreams up crypto passport using the tech behind Bitcoin. Wired.

  134. Kharif, O. (2014). Bitcoin 2.0 shows technology evolving beyond use as money. Bloomberg.

  135. Wild, J. (2015). Blockchain believers seek to shake-up financial services. Financial Times.

  136. Jeong, S. (2013). The Bitcoin protocol as law, and the politics of a stateless currency. Available at SSRN 2294124.

  137. Basquill, J. (2015a). Interpol reveals Bitcoin tracking research. Blockchain Briefing.

  138. Bohannon, J. (2016). The Bitcoin busts. Science, 351(6278), 1144–1146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  139. Luu, J., & Imwinkelried, E. J. (2016). The challenge of Bitcoin pseudo-anonymity to computer forensics. Criminal Law Bulletin.

  140. Dahl, J. Y., & Sætnan, A. R. (2009). “It all happened so slowly”– on controlling function creep in forensic DNA databases. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, 37(3), 83–103.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  141. Auld, G., Cashore, B., Balboa, C., Bozzi, L., & Renckens, S. (2010). Can technological innovations improve private regulation in the global economy? Business & Politics, 12(3), 1–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  142. Demetis, D. S. (2010). Technology and anti-money laundering: A systems theory and risk-based approach. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  143. Böhme, R., Christin, N., Edelman, B., & Moore, T. (2015). Bitcoin: economics, technology, and governance. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29(2), 213–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  144. Greenberg, A. (2014). Dark wallet is about to make Bitcoin money laundering easier than ever. Wired.

  145. Dash. (n.d.). What is Dash? Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  146. Zerocoin Project. (n.d.). What is Zerocoin? Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  147. Zcash. (n.d.). About. Accessed 22 Nov 2016.

  148. Richet, J-L. (2013). Laundering money online: a review of cybercriminals methods. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

  149. Angel, J. J., & McCabe, D. (2015). The ethics of payments: paper, plastic, or Bitcoin? Journal of Business Ethics, 132(3), 603–611.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  150. Reijers, W., & Coeckelbergh, M. (2016). The Blockchain as a narrative technology: investigating the social ontology and mormative configurations of cryptocurrencies. Philosophy & Technology, 1–28.

  151. Dierksmeier, C., & Seele, P. (2016). Cryptocurrencies and business ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 1–14.

  152. Décary-Hétu, D., & Giommoni, L. (2016). Do police crackdowns disrupt drug cryptomarkets? A longitudinal analysis of the effects of Operation Onymous. Crime, Law and Social Change, 67(1), 55–75.

  153. Irwin, A. S., Irwin, A. S., Milad, G., & Milad, G. (2016). The use of crypto-currencies in funding violent jihad. Journal of Money Laundering Control, 19(4), 407–425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  154. Brill, A., & Lonnie, K. (2014). Cryptocurrencies: the next generation of terrorist financing? Defence Against Terrorism Review, 6(1), 7–30.

    Google Scholar 

  155. Bershidsky, L. (2015). Leave Bitcoin alone. Bloomberg: Abolish cash instead.

    Google Scholar 

  156. Perez, Y. (2015). Bitcoin, Paris and terrorism: what the media got wrong. Coindesk.

  157. Polillo, S. (2013). Conservatives versus wildcats: A sociology of financial conflict. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  158. European Commission. (2016). Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and amending Directive 2009/101/EC.>. Accessed 27 Aug 2016.

  159. Financial Action Task Force. (2015b). Emerging terrorist financing risks: FATF Report. Accessed 15 Aug 2016.

  160. Sharman, J. C. (2008). Power and discourse in policy diffusion: anti-money laundering in developing states. International Studies Quarterly, 52(3), 635–656.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  161. Williamson, C., Vazquez, J., Thomas, J., & Sagona-Stophel, K. (2013). Technology in the fight against money laundering in the new digital currency age. Thomson Reuters Accelus. Accessed 16 Aug 2016.

  162. Maina, J.W. (2015). 20,000 Customers affected as bter scrambles to refund stolen Bitcoin. Cryptocoinsnews.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn.

Additional information

Earlier drafts of this paper were greatly improved by the careful criticisms and helpful suggestions of Eric Helleiner, Marcel Goguen, Mark Nance, participants in the FATF @ 25 workshop at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, researchers in the University of Toronto’s Internet Research Network, and two anonymous journal referees. The usual disclaimers apply.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Campbell-Verduyn, M. Bitcoin, crypto-coins, and global anti-money laundering governance. Crime Law Soc Change 69, 283–305 (2018).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: