In the Headlines
July 18, 2018

What's Next: Mueller's Crypto Crackdown, Microsoft's Call for Regulation, and More

A look at this week's major events from the intersection of law and technology.

Partner Joe Dewey commented to on the "modern-day" crypto paper trail and other missteps made by the 2016 presidential election hackers. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation uncovered that the 12 indicted Russian government officials made the mistake of using the same fake accounts in their bitcoin and cryptocurrency transactions for different purposes, which made it easier for investigators to draw connections and charge them with money laundering.

According to Mr. Dewey, such mistakes aren't exactly unusual. "While virtual currency does allow you to move and store value around fairly anonymously, in some ways it makes it more difficult or raises more red flags."

This is due, in part, to the nature of the exchanges themselves. Those trying to cover their tracks are often left with the need to convert the currency, and many exchanges are cooperative with law enforcement and regulated or undertake their own regulatory measures. Mr. Dewey notes that, although there are some outlets that ease such conversion efforts, perpetrators' missteps usually catch up with them as they have in the Mueller investigation.

"It's fairly hard to remain anonymous," he added. "Many people make the mistake at some point, and it leads to law enforcement or others to find relationships between the accounts."

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