Dirty Laundry

Dateline: Lisbon, 18th June 2024.I’ve been reading Geoff White’s new book “Rinsed”, which is all about money laundering. In the book he tells the story of gang of money launderers based in Bury, in the north of England (they were all caught: the gang leader got 18 years chokey and the gang members went down for between 11 and 15 years). Once the police had some of their Bitcoin addresses, the blockchain delivered an immutable record of where their money came from and went to. Which left me wondering what I should do to if I were to come across a stash of bent bitcoins.ShareProperty Rights and WrongsDo you remember the classic scene in the cult movie Office Space where the characters are trying to work out how to launder money and so they bring in a guy that they assume to be a drug dealer? He turns out to be a computer programmer who knows nothing about money laundering at all.That was in the 1990s. How would they go about money laundering now? They would probably use Bitcoin. This would be a big mistake, because one of the reasons why Bitcoin is not money, but property, is that it is not fungible. Coins that are stolen can be tracked using the immutable public record of transactions, the blockchain.In the case of the bitcoins stolen from the hacked cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, they were followed for years and anyone who is interested in technology and money cannot fail to have been…Dirty Laundry