A study by Melbourne’s RMIT University found that Australian criminals who use cryptocurrencies in their schemes receive harsher sentences than those who use fiat currency. The study focused on the role of digital assets on the Dark Web, where they are among the main payment methods supported. Of the 59 cases involving people who have used cryptocurrencies in their offenses between 2013 and 2022, 80% were tied to drug trafficking, while the remaining charges included money laundering and firearms. The study’s co-author said judges view cryptocurrencies as a sophisticated factor in the crimes and thus impose harsher punishments. At the same time, the study suggested law enforcement prosecutors need to determine the level of sophistication in the crime and present a fair case. Australian awareness of digital currencies is on a high level, with Bitcoin remaining the most recognizable, with 90.8% of Australians being aware of its existence. Of the respondents aged 25-34, 40% had some cryptocurrency exposure.
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