Global Conference on Criminal Finances & Cryptocurrencies kicks off at Europol

For those who are not at the 3rd Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies today and tomorrow, here is a taster – opening remarks by Federico Paesano, Senior Financial Investigation Specialist at the Basel Institute on Governance, which is co-organising the event.

Let me thank Europol for hosting us today at its unique premises and for the excellent organisation of the event, as always. 

And thank you also to my colleagues from Interpol for being, together with the Basel Institute on Governance – the organisation I represent today – the driving force behind this working group. 

This is the third global event, and it’s nice to see many familiar faces around. The idea behind the working group was exactly this: to create a group that meets regularly and exchanges information and experience. But our story starts already in 2014 when the three organisations first met in Basel, Switzerland, at an event organised by the Basel Institute. 

We discussed only one case that year, Silk Road. That’s all that was around. When we met again in 2015, 2016, 2017, we saw the number of cases growing exponentially. And each year, we have had the privilege of listening to the law enforcement issues behind those cases.

Since we met in Basel last year, and despite (or thanks!) to the bear market, we have seen many developments. 2018 wasn’t a boring year! While the crypto market peaked in January, it is now down more than 80%. Regulatory tightening has been huge news: South Korea asking all exchanges to verify their users, the EU is taking a similar approach with its AML directive, the SEC in the U.S. is investigating companies that held ICOs... 

In terms of security we saw big companies offering custodial services for institutional investors, and Fidelity, one of the largest financial services companies, doing the same. The Nasdaq Stock Market is planning to launch Bitcoin futures in the first half of 2019.

And what about the Lightning Network? And the forks ... and the dramas. And many cases and investigations, which I am looking forward to hearing about in the next two days. Enjoy the conference!