Do Publicized Prosecutions of Crypto Criminals Help or Hurt the Industry?
14 people have been detained in Taiwan for defrauding over 100 cryptocurrency investors out of a total of $5 million. A $119 million dogecoin mining scheme is reportedly being investigated by Turkish investigators. The masterminds of a $55 million cryptocurrency scam have been apprehended in Japan.
Every week, it seems like someone is jailed for defrauding crypto investors, stealing money, or being involved in some form of cryptocurrency-related crime in some part of the world. There have been those who have aspired to commit crimes utilizing cryptocurrencies or inside the cryptocurrency sector for as long as it has existed.
Cryptojacking, phony crypto investment scams, and stealing cryptocurrency from exchanges are just a few examples. One of the most well-known of these crimes was the Silk Road website, which used bitcoin to enable the sale of illegal goods and other criminal acts. Ross William Ulbricht, the site's founder, was arrested when it was shut down in 2013 and is currently serving a life sentence.
Since then, the cryptocurrency business has grown in size, as has the number of scammers and crooks operating inside it. The good news is that law enforcement agencies all around the world have improved their ability to discover and prosecute cybercriminals. When they do, it frequently hits the news, with articles outlining the crimes and how they were committed.
But, does the frequent media attention on cryptocurrency-related scams benefit the sector and individuals who participate in it, or does it cause more harm than good?
Low Hanging Crypto Fruit and Its Effects
To begin, it's worth noting that as cryptocurrency becomes more well-known, more attention is drawn to the crimes that occur within it. The public, as we all know, likes a good crime story and delights in the minutiae of a successful con. When a mainstream magazine covers a crypto scam and publishes a headline about how X million dollars was stolen in a crypto-related scam, it attracts readers in the same way that a normal financial crime would.
The difficulty is that, unlike the rest of the financial world, the Bitcoin industry already faces a great deal of public distrust and scrutiny. Cryptocurrency is a very new concept, and if people's only exposure to it is news stories about people being defrauded or having their tokens stolen, it may have a detrimental influence on investor trust.
On the other hand, it may be claimed that public prosecution of crypto crimes sends the message that crypto investors are better protected by law enforcement and that they will have some remedy if they fall victim to a hoax. Furthermore, many of the articles regarding the prosecution of crypto crimes provide details about how the schemes were devised and how the criminals were arrested.
This can serve as detailed instruction for the general public on what not to do while investing in cryptocurrencies. Reading about how others lost money investing in shady scams gives you a clear image of what a dodgy plan looks like and how to avoid it.
The fact that the sector has continued to flourish despite the skepticism that some feel towards it answers the question of whether these publicized prosecutions benefit or hinder the industry. While there will obviously be people who are put off by these revelations, the impact has not been big enough to dissuade the sector.
As the cryptocurrency business becomes more popular, we can expect tales of crypto criminals being convicted to become less sensationalized and reported with the same neutrality as the rest of the financial world. Furthermore, as more people become aware of how the crypto sector works, these crimes will become less common, and most individuals will be able to recognize and avoid such offenders.
This will be comparable to how, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, reporting on common online frauds did not stop their spread but was eventually dealt with.
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