Prosecutors: Bitcoins Make Crimes Easier

And whose fault is the black market?


Law enforcement officials testified on Wednesday that virtual currencies like Bitcoin have opened up new avenues for crime that government has not been able to keep up with.

The most forceful statements came from a prosecutor with the United States attorney's office in Manhattan, Richard B. Zabel, during the second day of hearings about virtual currencies held by New York's top financial regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky.

Mr. Zabel went through a list of six ways in which virtual currencies are more prone to crime than current forms of money transfer, including the ease with which money can be laundered over borders at the click of a mouse.

The testimony of Mr. Zabel and Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, was a blow to Bitcoin advocates who have said that digital money carries no more risk than ordinary money and should not be treated with harsher regulations.