Using Blockchain Technology To Curb Money Laundering

Published : Feb 23, 2018

Blockchain To Fight Money Laundering

  • The instances of money laundering are increasing every passing day. It has become a daily occurrence and it causes whopping losses every year to the global economy. Talking about the figures, about 2-5% of transactions of the global GDP are exhausted by Money Laundering and related Ponzi schemes every year, causing losses that add up to $2 trillion.

    Money Laundering is a process of conducting fraudulent transactions in a way that obscures the link between funds and their origin. Although there are several other financial problems to deal with, the threat of money laundering is far greater than one can imagine. The incidents of Money laundering not only hamper the global economy but the security of millions of people is also compromised. Despite the efforts from the authorities and in spite of various anti-money laundering solutions, the authorities are able to confiscate less than 1% of the illicit transaction flows. To make things worse, the global annual expenses on AML compliance are expected to cross $10 billion by the end of this year.

    Enter The Blockchain

    Blockchain is a distributed cryptographic ledger that records transactional data in a series of blocks. As the name suggests, it contains a series of Blocks that are electronically chained together to form a massive database. Each block records a small patch of data and is cryptographically secure. Blockchain forms a decentralized digital ledger where the data is shared with every node. Each user in the Blockchain network retains a copy of the ledger. Blockchain is also immutable and tamper-proof as the data stored on Blockchain cannot be deleted or modified at any point in time.

    Blockchain was initially devised to be used in the Cryptocurrency landscape. Bitcoin was the first Cryptocurrency that used this decentralized Peer-to-Peer system for recording transactions. But owing to the highly flexible nature of Blockchain, the latter can be used in a wide range of applications. As of today, Blockchain is being used in almost every industry and in a plethora of different applications.

    Blockchain as an AML Solution

    There is no denying that Blockchain can prove to be an effective anti-money laundering (AML) solution that can eradicate such issues once and for all.

    Perhaps the biggest advantage of building an AML system on top of the Blockchain is that it leverages the most advanced form of cryptography used in Blockchain. Since the data stored on a blockchain is immutable and is shared with all the nodes in the network, we can use it to stop suspicious transactions before it's too late. The decentralized smart contracts (an application of blockchain) can also help to prevent incidents of money laundering to a great extent. Smart Contracts are self-executing wills that use built-in algorithms to allow a fair exchange of goods and services between two or more parties.

    Various financial institutions can be a part of Blockchain and each one of them will serve as a node within the private permissioned blockchain network. Each node will have access to the network directory and smart contracts for recording transactions on Blockchain.

    More or less, it would be interesting to see how long it takes for financial institutions and regulators to adopt this state-of-the-art technology to gain visibility over transactions and prevent money laundering.

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