Japan’s efforts to regulate the cryptocurrency industry might have come a little later than needed, as the country has seen nearly 6,000 cases of money laundering involving cryptocurrency so far in 2018.
According to an official police document, there have been nearly 6,000 cases of cryptocurrency-based money laundering reported to the Japanese police between January and October of this year, the Japan Times reports.
This is a dramatic increase over the 669 cases that were reported in the last nine months of 2017.
All that said, it’s important to recognize that Japan has been leading the way when it comes to regulating cryptocurrency. So it seems the country’s plan to set up frameworks to report money laundering cases are actually working.
Indeed, a National Police Agency (NPA) spokesperson stated that the rise in reported cases has come as a result of cryptocurrency exchanges actually reporting suspicious trading behavior.
“We have seen some large-scale cryptocurrency thefts, and operators are believed to be scrutinizing transactions more rigorously,” the official said.
One of the many challenges Japan appears to be facing in these money laundering cases are people with Japanese addresses but login to their accounts from overseas. It makes policing the cases very difficult. How Japan will deal with these remains to be seen.
While 6,000 might seem like a huge number, the report disclosed that there were over 340,000 suspected cases of money laundering and abuse across all reported financial transactions, during the same time period.
Cryptocurrency money laundering then, makes up less than 2 percent of this figure, making it seem somewhat irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Not that it will stop Japan going after the crooks. The country recently announced it would be systematically hunting cryptocurrency tax evaders who have earn more than $1,700 a year from trading digital assets.