Thai Zappelini: Do NFTs make money laundering possible?

Thai Zappelini: Do NFTs make money laundering possible?

Is an acronym for NFT Non-fungal tokens (In Portuguese, non-fungible token) and refers to the process of converting a virtual asset into a virtual asset. Blockchain, Which features a unique well. As a result, you cannot change, delete, or edit assets.

Tokens are digital representations of value. Thus, if a particular person has a token, they have rights over it, such as a digital certificate of ownership, whose authenticity and uniqueness can be verified. The term “non-fungible” refers to something that cannot be replaced by another type of thing.

NFTs can be images, videos, audio, concert tickets, music albums or even digital gaming assets (e.g. Leather Of characters). These properties are often advertised and sold Markets (E.g. Open sea), In which tokens are disclosed Like a showcase Will be sold to collectors or investors. According to Forbes Magazine, about 128.1 billion BRL, equivalent to US $ 23 billion, was transferred to NFTs in 2021.

The popularity of NFTs has grown so much that a museum opened this year in Seattle (USA) to showcase the original works of art. Many celebrities began investing in them with significant amounts – for example, the player Neymar, who paid R $ 6 million for one item in the collection. Boring app yacht club (BAYC). The last week of April saw a huge uproar over the sale of BAYC’s virtual land, with the responsible company Euglabs raising an estimated 285 million. However, this publicity was accompanied by a series of controversies, such as suspicion of fraud and allegations of potential environmental impacts involving the mining process, as NFTs rely on technology. Blockchain.

Although very high values ​​negotiated by NFTs often lead to a lack of authentication of work on the network Blockchain And evaluation of the traditional art market, as reported by Channelisis (2021), The purchase and sale of NFTs in the first half of 2021 would have moved money laundering to approximately US $ 1.4 million. This research was based on the amount previously moved by addresses related to theft, accounts under legal sanction and other illegal acts. The same report indicates हाल 8.6 million in illicit movements by cryptocurrency in 2021.

Another document from British authorities Royal United Services Institute Shows similar concern about the use of technology for criminal acts, recommends activity monitoring. In addition, recommendations were issued by the US Department of the Treasury in April this year to combat the illicit financing of the high-value art market, with a special focus on digital art.

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, money laundering is not just about using currency as an official course. As technology for social development evolves, so do new strategies for crime. In this sense, a parallel and illicit market has been established in the realm of virtual property. Some features related to non-fungible tokens have opened up new avenues for crimes such as money laundering and laundering trading (“Wash Trading”).

Even if the transaction is recorded, the recipient and sender cannot be identified, so pseudonym anonymity is a feature of this type of property. Thus, laundering occurs by taking advantage of the possibility of market speculation and, to a large extent, by purchasing tokens through cryptocurrencies.

The criminal agent usually buys NFT with “clean” money, sells the corresponding token as non-fungible, and uses its name. The money is then declared as sales profit. It is also a common practice to sell property at a price to an imaginary buyer.

When it comes to the use of decentralized virtual “currencies”, money laundering is facilitated by finding minimal barriers to illegal fund movements. Needless to say, assuming that works and other articles are in digital form, there is no need for aggregation and physical storage.

In addition to the difficulties of tracking those responsible for transactions, we do not have a specific legal system to regulate financial assets, and this unprecedented situation has created legal and financial uncertainty for the challenges associated with the fight against money laundering. . Authorities in many countries remain vigilant, focusing on best practices and evaluating possible solutions, including the evolution of digital crime.


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