Cryptocurrencies: tightening the legal framework to counter cryptocrimes
Goal: Cryptocurrencies have unique features such as (i) a high level of anonymity, (ii) the use of cryptography, (iii) decentralized power and (iv) irreversibility. Another characteristic is their ambivalent usage. Some cryptocurrencies are essentially used as a currency, while others possess more characteristics of a digital asset, “share”, token, speculative instrument or a combination of these. Even though there is an ongoing debate around the world on cryptocurrencies, the general opinion is that they are here to stay and that regulators will focus on the negative effects. This study commences with an assessment of archetypical forms of cryptocrimes that have been identified as well as illicit behaviour that may emerge in the near future. It proceeds with an assessment of relevant European and Dutch laws and regulations, examining whether these instruments sufficiently cover the identified cryptocrimes. The second part of the study analyses whether cryptocrimes that are currently not sufficiently covered by European and Dutch laws and regulations should be regulated. If the behaviour should be regulated, the study proceeds with formulating concrete recommendations on how European and Dutch laws and regulations should be amended to effectively counter cryptocrimes.