Several link cryptocurrencies to illegal activities due to their pseudonymous nature and potential for abuse. Individuals can utilize these digital assets for purposes such as money laundering and unauthorized transactions. Procurement of illegal goods and services on the dark web is also on this list. However, it’s important to note that these activities represent a small fraction of the overall crypto transaction volume. Recent headlines have also highlighted cases of bribery involving these digital assets. Consequently, the Taiwan government is implementing measures to eliminate the potential for such incidents ahead of the 2024 elections.
According to data, Taiwan has documented bribery cases exceeding 1.254 billion yuan from the end of 2000 until May 2023. It is estimated that nearly 50 million yuan was distributed as part of the nine-in-one election [municipal elections] bonus last year. The Supreme Prosecutor’s Office has reported that they have prosecuted a total of 1,335 cases related to bribery in these elections last year, as of June 2023.
Over time, bribery methods have undergone changes, moving away from traditional cash-based transactions. Various third-party payment platforms such as Line Pay, Pi Wallet, Jiekou Payment, Oufubao, and other digital payment tools have emerged as alternative means of bribery. Furthermore, authorities have identified prominent cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others as potential tools for bribery.
Bitcoin & Ethereum’s dark side takes front stage
The Ministry of Justice in Taiwan has expressed concerns that currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum could potentially influence elections. Several other countries across the globe also share this apprehension.
An Indian minister had previously raised concerns about individuals utilizing cryptocurrencies for bribery and money laundering. Additionally, a candidate running for governor in St. Petersburg, Russia, made a pledge to distribute the cryptocurrency GUBER to voters who supported him during the gubernatorial elections on September 8, 2019. Furthermore, there have been instances of Chinese officers accepting bribes and a Russian official being arrested for involvement in BTC bribes worth $27 million.
Taking these concerns into account, the Taiwanese government has initiated proactive measures. Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are actively working to prevent the use of these methods during the upcoming 2024 general election.