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

Stan Higgins
Aug 16, 2016 at 19:35 UTC  |  Updated  Aug 17, 2016 at 12:43 UTC

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:

FOI2016-065 Bitcoin by CoinDesk on Scribd

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