The dark side of cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin isn’t just for fintech savants anymore. It’s also the new go-to resource of digital fraudsters. Find out how cryptocrime is transforming the profession – and what you can do to help protect your clients.

In Canada and around the world, cryptocurrencies have taken the traditional financial system by storm, offering people different ways to invest, earn and trade money using blockchain technology. But increasingly, they’re also being used to commit fraud and fund criminal activity.

THE RISE OF CRYPTOCRIME

This trend is concerning for reputable businesses as well as law enforcement across jurisdictions. For example, cryptocurrency ATMs aren’t covered by our federal anti-money laundering regulations. In the United States, virtual transactions can be challenging for tax compliance – and the advent of crypto cards is increasing the risk of illicit transactions from anonymous sources.

Meanwhile, there are currently 60 open investigations by the J5 group into global cryptocrime and aggressive tax avoidance. And over the last financial year in the UK, investment scams have cost victims 27 million pounds via bogus online trading platforms.

The outlook doesn’t have to be this bleak, though.

EMBRACING DIGITAL DISRUPTION

As a CPA, you can curb cyberfraud scams and protect your clients with the right information and a transparent approach to reporting.

Plus, if you provide effective financial forensic services to help people avoid dangerous schemes and ensure audit transparency, there’s real potential to expand your practice and carve out a niche in the evolving, disruption-prone marketplace of the future.

Here are the top three ways you can make a difference:

  • Educate yourself on blockchain: Whether it’s reading the latest guidance on cryptoassets or getting into financial forensics with a post-CPA specialization, knowledge is power. Make sure you have a grasp on the strategic importance of emerging tech and its potential implications for your clients and your organization.
  • Connect with experts: The cryptoasset landscape is changing every day. That’s why it’s critical to participate in targeted events if you want to stay ahead of the curve. CPAs can also share experiences and pick up unexpected professional insights from active digital communities like Bitcoin Reddit.
  • Use the right tools: Save yourself – and your clients – from any CRA challenges in advance by tapping into the benefits of cryptocurrency tax software. That way, you will be able to streamline and aggregate a variety of transactions, from wallets and mining to exchanges and capital gains. ZenLedger, CryptoTrader and CoinTracker are a good place to start.
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Learn more about how cryptocrime is transforming the profession at AIPCA’s Forensic and Valuation Services Conference from November 4-6, 2019. And for a deeper dive into financial forensics, consider pursuing the specialized CFF credential.