Crypto accounts for tiny percentage of Japanese money laundering reports

It turns out that cryptocurrency use may not quite be the hive of scum and villainy that some would suggest – at least not in Japan.

Nikkei Asia review is reporting that Japanese authorities received 669 reports of suspected money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies between April and December last year. While that may sound a lot, it amounted to only a small fraction of the 400,043 total cases reported during the year.

Authorities cannot provide statistics regarding suspected laundering from before April 2017, because changes to their rules to prevent the transfer of criminal proceeds, obliging exchanges to report such cases, only came into force at that point. According to the Nikkei article, no specific rationale has been publicly given to exchanges regarding when they should alert police, but the news service believes that “questionable transactions repeated frequently in a short span of time” could be one such trigger.

The country has 16 cryptocurrency exchange operators currently registered, and thus bound by the law.  The first 11 of these were awarded their licenses in September of last year. That 16 does not include Coincheck, which was the victim of high-profile hack recently. It’s application was – and is – still pending.

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