UK Fraud Office Comments on 'Increasing' Bitcoin Use By Criminals

A criminal investigatory unit in the UK has said that it would consider investigating cases involving bitcoin.

AccessTimeIconAug 16, 2016 at 6:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:27 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

A criminal investigatory unit in the UK is reporting that it has seen an increase in the use of bitcoin by criminals.

The UK Serious Fraud Office, an independent agency within the UK government, disclosed the stance in new comments addressing whether it believes bitcoin is "being used" in criminal activity. The remarks, published yesterday, represent what appear to be the SFO’s first public statements on bitcoin.

While the agency denied that it had undertaken any specific studies on the technology, the SFO said that it would consider such investigations given its mandate to look into new forms of fraud.

The SFO said in its response:

"We would therefore consider specific allegations of bitcoin being used to perpetrate serious or complex fraud. Such a case might, for instance, represent a new or emerging type of fraud. The SFO is aware of increasing use of bitcoin by criminals but has not conducted any specific studies into the impact of this type of crime."

While the SFO indicated that it hasn't pursued or released any research of its own, other elements of the UK government have done so in the past.

Last November, HM Treasury released a report detailing how digital currencies pose the lowest money laundering risk among other means, including banks and cash.

The full SFO letter can be found below:

Image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.

Read more about