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Is Bitcoin for Criminals?

Many people continue to associate Bitcoin with unlawful beahvior, but in reality, less than 1% of Bitcoin transactions are actually used for illegal activities.

Reed Wommack
Reed Wommack
Sep 18, 2020September 18, 20202 min read2 minutes read

People new to Bitcoin commonly think that Bitcoin is for crimi­nals. They believe it is for hackers, kidnap­pers, and drug dealers, not for ordinary people like you and me. This idea arose because Bitcoin was indeed used as currency on an early online drug market­place, the Silk Road. And it is true that many computer hackers now demand Bitcoin as a ransom payment.

Many people continue to associate Bitcoin with unlawful behavior, but in reality, less than 1% of Bitcoin trans­ac­tions are actually for illegal activ­i­ties. In the grand scheme of Bitcoin, lawful users vastly outnumber unlawful users. Most people use Bitcoin to store value, send money overseas to relatives, pay rent, give gifts, or trade. 

Here at Swan Bitcoin, we help people use Bitcoin to save money long-term, much like you would use a piggy bank or a 401k. 

However, there is no way to elimi­nate unlawful users from Bitcoin. Bitcoin is for every­body. It is a neutral, open currency. Anyone who wishes to use it can use it. In that sense, it is sort of like physical cash. Physical cash can be used by murderers and kidnap­pers, but also by teachers, landscapers, and children selling lemonade at the end of their driveway. 

Like physical cash, there is no easy way to stop crimi­nals from using Bitcoin. After all, Bitcoin is avail­able to everyone. Just because some people have used it for evil before doesn’t mean that the tool itself is evil. Just because physical cash has been given to kidnap­pers before, that doesn’t mean you should swear off using physical cash. Or just because bank robbers use a getaway car doesn’t mean that cars are for criminals!

Fortu­nately, Bitcoin is legally treated as property in the United States. So it is legal to own and legal to trade. While we condemn using Bitcoin for uneth­ical activ­i­ties (like ransoms), the vast majority of Bitcoin users are using Bitcoin for whole­some activ­i­ties (like savings). 

So Bitcoin is undoubtedly not just for criminals.

Reed Wommack

Reed Wommack

Reed Wommack is the Head of Client Services at Swan Bitcoin. Reed heads Swan Bitcoin’s Customer Support. So if you ever run into issues with any Swan products, feel free to DM Reed on Twitter.

You can find him on Twitter here:

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