”The world ultimately will have a single currency, the Internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be Bitcoin”, “probably over 10 years, but it could go faster” Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, famously declared in March 2018.
Considering the difficulty to follow the money trail in the blockchain and the anonymity that surrounds transactions using cryptocurrencies, this virtual asset is preferred by cybercriminals when conducting their illicit activities and laundering the proceeds resulted from them. Ransomware, hacking and other types of cybercrime are without doubt highly inter-connected with cryptocurrency and the response of judicial authorities is sometimes hampered by the complexity of this mix of crimes.
In this context, the iPROCEEDS-2 joint project of the European Union and the Council of Europe organised a 4-day training on seizing virtual currency, on 16-19 August 2021, in Bucharest, Romania. The event was physically attended by more than 30 cybercrime and financial investigators, representatives of Financial Intelligence Units and cybercrime prosecutors from the iPROCEEDS-2 project countries/area and Romania and focused on the newly developed Guide on seizing cryptocurrencies.
Guided by four international experts on the topic, the participants had the opportunity, through theoretical input, presentations, practical exercise and in-depth discussions, to strengthen their skills and knowledge on how to effectively deal with cryptocurrencies. Moreover, they learned how to create and manage an electronic wallet (desktop, mobile or/and hardware wallet), how virtual currencies are defined and regulated under different legislations and best practices on European and international level on seizing virtual currencies. The meeting provided good opportunities for both inter-agency and international co-operation, as participants representing different institutions and countries/area had to cooperate and solve a complex case scenario.
The overwhelming positive feedback confirmed the participants’ high appreciation towards the topic, while the in-person format enabled them to actively participate and easily interact with each other.
iPROCEEDS-2 participating countries are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Kosovo*.
iPROCEEDS-2 project webpage
*“All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.”