Many politicians and investors argue that cryptocurrencies are a big risk to society because they are used by criminals in tax evasion and money laundering processes, mainly due to the lack of supervision, which supposedly happens in the traditional financial system. However, this week, a leak pointed out that some of the world's largest banks are involved in a money laundering scheme of more than $ 2 trillion, equivalent to more than 10x the market size of Bitcoin.
More than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) amounting to more than $ 2 trillion in transactions were submitted anonymously to BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Investigative Journalists Consortium (ICIJ).
These reports, and more than 17,600 other records obtained by the ICIJ, allegedly show how senior bank employees allowed fraudsters to move money between accounts knowing that the funds were being generated or used criminally.
Five global banks were cited in the investigation: JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank and Bank of New York Mellon.
Covering transactions between 1999 and 2017, SARs have leaked from the United States Financial Crime Investigation Network (FinCEN), an agency that is part of the United States Treasury and has a mission to combat money laundering.
Two weeks ago, FinCEN warned that media organizations were preparing to publish a story about documents that were obtained illegally, before last week announcing that it was seeking public comment on how to improve the US anti-money laundering system.
In the face of the scandal, global stock markets were drastically affected, resulting in a sharp drop worldwide and a deep drop in the actions of the institutions involved.