Crypto News | Backpage Laundered Money Through Crypto

The big news today (and for the last week, actually) is Zuckerberg’s appearance before the Congress concerning issues of privacy, data misuse, and Facebook’s business model of exploiting information for profit. The other big news, although now several days old, is the seizure of Backpage, a website for sex ads, and allegedly sex trafficking, as well. The issue of Backpage was tentatively mentioned by several congressmen yesterday during the Zuckerberg testimony, when they talked about the Communications Decency Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The Department of Justice indicted seven people who held key positions at Backpage on charges of facilitating prostitution. The federal indictment contains 93 counts, alleging, among other things, that Backpage earned more than $500 million off of prostitution, while its executives committed serious financial crimes, including laundering the money using cryptocurrencies and the anonymity provided by the Internet. The profits were condemned as illegal since they were gained through the exploitation of vulnerable women and children, according to the DOJ. VISA and MasterCard stopped working with Backpage already in 2015, which means that Bitcoin and other cryptos were the only option left for sex workers and for the company.

In spite of these controversies, lawmakers in Europe are feeling pretty positive about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in general. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the European Commission, held an important speech on Tuesday at EC’s Digital Day 2018 in Brussels. He said that Europe should aspire to become a leader in digital innovation, primarily by embracing blockchain technology. He said that, in order for Europe to harvest the potential of both blockchain and AI, the European Commission will have to support these technologies both politically and financially.

At the same time, 22 EU countries signed an international blockchain partnership. The Declaration on the Establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership aims to promote cooperation, exchanging experiences and expertise, eventually leading up to a Digital Single Market, both for the private and the public sector. The Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, believes that all public services will use blockchain technology in the future. Although the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum was launched only two months ago, in February, the European Commission has already spent 80 million EUR on supporting beneficial blockchain projects. With 300 million more to spend in the near future, blockchain and digital assets look towards an exciting period of innovation and expansion in Europe.

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