Bitcoin training at Romanian-American University

In response to the recent wave of new electronic payment methods, including cryptocurrencies, the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) has developed training on money laundering using cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin.

At the invitation of the Romanian-American University in Bucharest, ICAR trainers delivered training on “Money Laundering using Cryptocurrencies and International Co-operation” for students during 27–29 November 2018.

Registration for the course had to be closed early due to the great deal of interest it attracted. It also marked the beginning of a promising collaboration between the university and the Basel Institute. The 42 participants came from various schools such as Law, Computer Science of Business Management, Domestic and International Business, Banking and Finance, Domestic and International Economy of Tourism and Management-Marketing.

Why is training in cryptocurrencies important?

Digital currencies or cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, have the potential to make it easier for criminals to hide the source of their proceeds and move funds across borders without detection. It is increasingly essential for investigators, prosecutors and others to understand Bitcoin in order to help investigate its use for criminal objectives and recover the proceeds of crime held abroad. 

About the Bitcoin workshop

During the workshop, students learned how effective money laundering investigations are conducted where the proceeds of crime are laundered using cryptocurrencies. Common misconceptions regarding Bitcoin – such as its perceived anonymity, lack of intrinsic value, and difficulties in tracing transactions – were addressed.

Students also explored the peculiarities of a decentralised system, in particular when applied to financial systems. Important building blocks of blockchain technology were explored, with students learning how Bitcoin addresses are generated and transactions are managed. They also downloaded a Bitcoin Wallet that helped them understand transactions and, ultimately, use them to confiscate Bitcoins.

“Following the money” using blockchain

In keeping with ICAR’s hands-on approach to training, the students conducted a simulated investigation in which the proceeds of crime are laundered using Bitcoins. The students successfully followed the trail of money back to its source by analysing the blockchain.

Growing demand for cryptocurrency training

The high level of interest from students in learning about Bitcoin and money laundering reflects fast-growing demand from all sectors for training in blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies and money laundering. In addition to ICAR's training courses aimed at investigators, prosecutors and reprentatives of Financial Investigation Units, the Basel Institute also runs a popular Blockchain and AML training course for FinTech and compliance professionals. To find out more, contact federico.paesano@baselgovernance.org.