Following the Money: Investigating Cryptocurrency

When Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, was issued in 2009, an entirely new world was created in relation to money laundering and financial investigations. Bitcoin, at the simplest level, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic payment system that does not require a third party to process a transaction. Bitcoin was initially created with the intention of providing banking services to the unbanked, while creating a faster and less expensive way to send money anywhere in the world. Today, Bitcoin is accepted as a method of payment by hundreds of traditional merchants and is also widely used by many criminal organizations. There are currently more than 1,550 different cryptocurrencies in existence. Bitcoin is, by far, the largest and most widely accepted cryptocurrency with a market capitalization, of more than $163 billion, as of May 2018.