BITCOIN: The Decentralised Virtual Currency as a Criminal Tool

  • Daniel Eszteri


In January 2009, the Japanese software designer Satoshi Nakamoto invented a virtual currency named Bitcoin and released software for managing transactions in the new money. It consists solely of bits and bytes, but we cannot see it as a coin or banknote on the market. There is no cover in terms of gold or stocks, in fact, nothing but the source code of the software which consists of 31 000 lines of code. The payment system is completely decentralised and so contains no central organisation which monitors transactions. Many people use this new currency to pay for services or products on the Internet, since it is not less safe than traditional payment systems. The anonym currency can be a perfect tool in the hands of criminals to reach their goals. Law enforcement authorities like the FBI have dealt with the question in a long report that recently leaked to the Internet. It can be interesting to examine the ‘Bitcoin problem’ from this point of view too, because the anonymous money transferring possibility seems to be the root of money laundering at first sight.

How to Cite
Eszteri, D. (2013). BITCOIN: The Decentralised Virtual Currency as a Criminal Tool. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (9), 18-20. Retrieved from