International Banker notes the many advantages blockchain lends itself to the AML compliance space. Specifically, the article outlines some ways in which traditional financial institutions are starting to apply blockchain concepts to money laundering prevention and detection.

Interestingly, many of the criticisms of cryptocurrencies (i.e. Bitcoin) focus on the same exact challenges faced by traditional banking: transaction monitoring, transaction recording and customer data.  

The irony of those critiques lies in the failure to recognize the advantages that blockchain gives cryptocurrency platforms including:

  • Traceable transactions through multiple sources (hops) and identifying sources of risk (i.e. Dark Web purchases)
  • Identifiable connections between entities on the blockchain
  • Keyword monitoring to help understand the nature of transactions and potential illicit activity in near real time
  • Immutable customer information processes (changes to customer information)
  • Efficient sanctions screening capability
  • Integration of investigative findings into customer risk profiles

Licensed, regulated Bitcoin platforms are already incorporating these advantages into effective AML compliance programs. One could argue that creating a robust customer profile based on verified information and transaction behaviors is easier using cryptocurrency than for traditional financial institutions. The mainstream incorporation of blockchain into AML solutions is a reinforcement of that idea.