Government agencies have been slow to adapt to evolving technologies and the increasing use of decentralized, digital currencies for illegal acts. Virtual black markets are spawning rapidly, and just as one gets taken down dozens more appear in its place. Current regulations and methods of law enforcement are outdated and must be reformed and recalibrated in order to keep up with the innovative techniques of virtual black-market administrators and anonymous users. Despite the urgency of such reform, it must be accomplished while maintaining fundamental privacy rights and avoiding inhibiting new technologies. This Note explains how users are able to abuse digital currencies, such as bitcoin, for illegal purposes and analyzes the current methods used to catch these users. It then argues for a reformation of law-enforcement and legislative efforts so that resources may be focused efficiently on addressing the issue.
The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.