Rates of criminal activity around cryptocurrency are not high, but are expected to rise if institutions do not respond quickly.
Kuttipong Kittayarak, executive director of the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), spoke this week at a seminar titled ‘Advancing the Economy and Combating Crime in the Digital Age: Cryptocurrency and Crime’ about the threat of criminal activity such as money laundering, ransomware and more – all involving cryptocurrency.
He said: “The use of virtual currencies and more specifically cryptocurrencies for online transactions is an example of emerging crime trends arising from the ‘dark side’ of technology. Criminals are increasingly using cryptocurrency to launder money, fund terroism and as a form of payment for ransomware and in Darknet markets for child abuse materials, malware, illegal drugs, weapons, and human trafficking.
“Law enforcement and justice institutions need to adapt to understanding new technology and its use to plan and commit crime as well as how to use technology to prevent, detect and improve investigation techniques.”
The seminar was a joint one between the TIJ and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
A central bank digital currency (CBDC) was announced back in June, when Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob unveiled plans for research into blockchain and related areas. However, the CBDC was created not necessarily to be put into use, but to explore its potential.
According to the investigation, Thailand’s response to increasing threats from cybercriminals is hampered by factors such as human resource constraints, inter-agency communication, bureaucratic red tape and officials’ lack of proficiency in foreign languages.