Advertisement

Humanistic Management Journal

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 133–139 | Cite as

Let Us Not Forget: Crypto Means Secret. Cryptocurrencies as Enabler of Unethical and Illegal Business and the Question of Regulation

  • Peter Seele
Future Challenges

Abstract

In the following, I concentrate on the nefarious, harmful and unethical dimensions emerging only slowly as the rather new phenomenon of cryptocurrencies and blockchain at large become visible only gradually. For the positive and pro-social use of cryptocurrencies please refer to the article of Claus Dierksmeier in this issue of HMJ. As there are many different dimensions still unknown, I concentrate on the ethical issues emerging from the secretive nature of cryptocurrencies, less on the environmental carbon footprint or economic implications of volatility also discussed in the literature. Among the most critical issues are black market transactions of weapons used in terrorist attacks, drugs, or childpornography. Additionally, cryptocurrencies are more and more found in blackmailing people and as payment for ransom-ware and other computer viruses (Wannacry was a remarkable example). Money laundering also is on the rise via cryptocurrencies. I argue that the nefarious use of cryptocurrencies threatens the prosocial potential of cryptocurrencies and in general makes criminal activity easier for criminals and less likely to track down by legal authorities. In closing, I discuss current debates about emerging regulation presenting an overview of some jurisdictions and the option of regulated central bank issues cryptocurrencies.

Keywords

Business ethics Cryptocurrencies Dark net Digitalization Money laundering Secrecy Switzerland 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares to have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Cheah, E., and J. Fry. 2015. Speculative bubbles in Bitcoin markets? An empirical investigation into the fundamental value of Bitcoin. Economics Letters 130: 32–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dierksmeier, C., and P. Seele. 2016. Cryptocurrencies and Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics: 1–14.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3298-0
  3. Dostov, V., and P. Shust. 2014. Cryptocurrencies: An unconventional challenge to the AML/CFT regulators? Journal of Financial Crime 21 (3): 249–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Foteinis, S. 2018. Bitcoin’s alarming carbon footprint. Nature 554: 169.  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-01625-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Greenberg, A. 2018. The Dark Web’s favorite Currency is less untraceable than it seem. WIRED 180327. https://www.wired.com/story/monero-privacy (accessed 180401).
  6. Miller, H. 2017. Welcome to Crypto Valley. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-10/welcome-to-crypto-valley (accessed 180330).
  7. Mohsin, S. 2018. Mnuchin Warns Against Bitcoin Becoming the Next ‘Swiss Bank Account’. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-12/mnuchin-warns-against-bitcoin-becoming-next-swiss-bank-account (accessed 180330).
  8. Seele, P. 2018a. Comeback des Swiss Nummernkontos – dank Bitcoin & Co. Inside Paradeplatz. https://insideparadeplatz.ch/2018/01/02/comeback-des-swiss-nummernkontos-dank-bitcoin-co/
  9. Seele, P. 2018b. “Krypto-Nation“ Schweiz: Ein doppelter Fauxpas? https://insideparadeplatz.ch/2018/01/24/krypto-nation-schweiz-ein-doppelter-fauxpas/
  10. Seele, P., and L. Zapf. 2017. Die Rückseite der Cloud – Eine Theorie des Privaten ohne Geheimnis. Berlin: Springer Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Spiegel. 2016. Liberty reserve: 20 Jahre Haft für Gründer von Digitalwährung. Retrieved May 16, 2009, from http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/liberty-reserve-gruender-arthur-budovskymuss-ins-gefaengnis-a-1091233.html.
  12. Stokes, R. 2012. Virtual money laundering: the case of Bitcoin and the Linden dollar. Information and Communications Technology Law 21 (3): 221–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Van Alstyne, M. 2014. Why bitcoin has value. Communications of the ACM 57 (5): 30–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Wiwo. 2018. Wie Länder gegen Bitcoin und Co vorgehen. https://www.wiwo.de/finanzen/geldanlage/kryptowaehrungen-wie-laender-gegen-bitcoin-und-co-vorgehen/21080200.html (accessed on 180318).

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversità della Svizzera italiana (USI)LuganoSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations