Earlier this year, a new report showed that 8% of Americans are invested in cryptocurrency. This may not sound like a lot, but the popularity of cryptocurrency has been going up steadily since its first iteration, Bitcoin, was developed by the infamous “Satoshi Nakamoto” in 2009. Its cryptic origins and ease of use from anywhere in the world have made cryptocurrency a perfect trading option for one demographic―the criminal underworld.

The cryptographic foundation of blockchain has opened the door to a new, trustless, and unmediated form of business. Complete anonymity, a ledger that records all transactions without requiring personal information, and the encryption of data make cryptocurrency the preferred method of the drug dealer, the identity fraud engineer, the hired killer, and the arms dealer.

Drugs are probably the most popular illegal activity being transacted on the blockchain. SilkRoad, the black market hub for illicit actors, was shut down in 2013 after making $1 billion in drug sales by hosting 13,000 drug listings from over 1,400 vendors.

There are other serious crimes being committed using crypto that those in the business world should be wary of. Federal agencies are also perpetually investigating and denouncing the advent of cryptocurrency as a means for wealthy people to launder money and evade taxes. In 2015, only 807 people out of 2.5 million reported cryptocurrency on their taxes correctly. The IRS and SEC, as well as a host of others will be ramping up the regulation of the crypto arena, following the example of countries such as China, Mexico, and Japan.

Whether you are developing an ICO or contemplating accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for your small business, understanding the criminal underbelly’s exploits of the technology is important. Entering into any business practice without researching it fully can mean serious problems for your business, and ignorance is no excuse.

Learn more about the dark side of crypto with the infographic below.

Infographic Image Source: NullTX