January 22, 20182min987

Less than 1 in a 100 Bitcoin is laundered

A study published in January 2018 by Center on Sanctions & Illicit Finance found that between 2013 and 2016, less than one percent of Bitcoin transactions entering conversion services is laundered.

According to the study, most used Bitcoin laundering machines are Bitcoin exchanges (45.43%) that allow FIAT currencies to Bitcoin exchange. This percentage is much lower for Crypto-exchanges (0.37%). Potential reasons could be the implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) practices on these exchanges.  As well as the fact that FIAT to Bitcoin transaction most Bitcoin transactions are for other cryptocurrencies.

Gambling services (25.79%) and mixers (23.4%) came in as second and third most “popular” ways of laundering money through Bitcoin. The first is often anonymous and allows (unlimited) bets and payouts to be paid in Bitcoin. Second allows illicit Bitcoin holders to swap their Bitcoin’s transaction history with “cleaner” one.


At the beginning of 2018, the legislation regulating crypto market is still in its early stages. That, even more so, was the case between 2013 and 2016 when the study was conducted. Taking this fact into consideration, less than one percent of the laundered money in Bitcoin transactions is not a lot. But let’s look from the other point of view. When last December Bitcoin price touched 20k mark, all eyes were focused on Bitcoin, many of them with potential illicit activity in mind. With altcoins booming and legislation one step behind (or even non-existent), it will be interesting to see what these numbers are for 2017 and 2018.

It’s therefore clear that Bitcoin is far behind the USD, EUR, and other FIAT currencies when it comes to money laundering. Cash still provides the most private and untraceable transaction of value.

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