Loosely Managed Digital Currency Could Be Avenue for Crime That’s Hard to Block

By Colby Adams

An emerging virtual currency intended to be used in lieu of cash could also be a vehicle for criminals seeking to make international transactions anonymously, according to investigators. Bitcoin, a loosely organized electronic payment system created in January 2009 by an otherwise anonymous computer programmer known by the possible pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, allows users and merchants to make transactions through digital coins, with or without the aid of payment processors or other financial institutions. While the project remains relatively small, it has already drawn enthusiastic users, including international vendors and nonprofit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which accept...