Can someone give me $ 10,000

Exchange bitcoins for euros? Easier said than done

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In fact, withdrawing bitcoins has always been a problem for anyone who owns a lot of bitcoins. You can't just go to your bank and transfer the crypto currency from the virtual wallet to an existing bank account at the current exchange rate. There are Bitcoin machines that can be used to withdraw money from individual addresses in cash. But for larger sums you have to turn to an exchange, where you can exchange fiat currency for Bitcoin and vice versa - also for a fee.

Coinbase, one of the most famous file sharing exchanges based in the United States, currently limits the payout to $ 10,000 per day. Cashing out bitcoins worth several hundred thousand or even millions of dollars would take a while and possibly alert the financial supervisory authority because structured transactions are noticed and an indication of money laundering. What makes it more difficult for criminals is that Coinbase requires proof of identity from all customers. So if the hackers withdraw those bitcoins that can be traced back to the original three addresses of the hack, they could be found out via their Coinbase user account.

This type of crypto search is now used by many authorities such as the FBI and Europol, often in cooperation with companies such as Elliptic or Chainalysis. And file sharing networks like Coinbase also have their own security mechanisms that automatically recognize transfers to and from dubious sources. In the case of the Twitter hack, transfers to the hackers' addresses were prevented within minutes, thus limiting the damage.

Cash delivery on the porch

As an alternative, there are file sharing sites that do not see the identity of their customers as closely because they are located in countries with less stringent requirements. It is believed that the majority of the illegally ingested Bitcoins and their money laundering are processed via these exchange platforms. The problem: They sometimes charge highly fluctuating fees, only offer limited payment methods or are repeatedly victims of hacker attacks themselves.

The case of the Canadian swap exchange QuadrigaCX shows how insecure Bitcoins can be there: Last year around 143 million euros were lost in Bitcoin when the founder of the platform suddenly died and presumably no one had access to the stored user savings in a special offline wallet . The investigation report uncovered a number of scams that would probably not have been possible with stronger regulation.

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2018 reported Viceon the creative ways darknet traders are taking to convert bitcoins into fiat currencies. One transferred Bitcoins to the address of a person living nearby, who deposited the exchange value in cash in a bag on the veranda. Another used debit cards loaded with Bitcoin credit. And a third took the detour via unregulated gambling offers. The examples make it clear: In order to cover the tracks in the blockchain, the criminals must have a clue and at the same time must not fall for other fraudsters who, in turn, use the money laundering tools to steal Bitcoins for themselves (Journal of Financial Crime: van Wegberg et al., 2018).

In general, it is difficult to say how many transfers of Bitcoins or other virtual currencies have a criminal background at all. A study was carried out in 2017 (Review of Financial Studies: Foley et al., 2018) to the result that 46 percent of all Bitcoin transactions at that time, valued at around 76 billion US dollars, were related to illegal activity on the Darknet. In comparison, the cryptoanalysts at Chainalysis and Elliptic estimate that only less than one percent of all Bitcoin transfers in 2019 will be attributable to darknet transactions. Of course, illegal transactions with the Bitcoin currency no longer only take place on the darknet marketplaces, as the previous examples show.

Without question, cryptocurrencies are an attractive alternative for criminals due to their anonymity and weak regulation. But the idea that you can profit from stolen Bitcoins as easily as from a handbag theft is simply wrong. A large part of the loot often slumbers in the end, like around 60 percent of all Bitcoins ever mined, for years in wallets without being touched.