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Working Group Report

Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies

Commonwealth Secretariat Marlborough House, Pall Mall London SW1Y 5HX United Kingdom thecommonwealth.org

P14195

October 2015

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WORKING GROUP REPORT

The Commonwealth Working Group on Virtual Currencies October 2015

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© Commonwealth Secretariat 2015 All rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or otherwise provided it is used only for educational purposes and is not for resale, and provided full acknowledgement is given to the Commonwealth Secretariat as the original publisher. Views and opinions expressed in this publication are the responsibility of the author and should in no way be attributed to the institutions to which he is affiliated or to the Commonwealth Secretariat. Wherever possible, the Commonwealth Secretariat uses paper sourced from responsible forests or from sources that minimise a destructive impact on the environment. Printed and published by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

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Contents \ iii

Contents Executive Summary

1

Introduction

5

Methodology

6

Part 1: The Prevalence of Virtual Currencies in Commonwealth Member Countries

8

Prevalence according to known usage

8

Types of Use

11

Part 2: The Impact of Virtual Currencies in Commonwealth Member Countries

23

Introduction

23

Beneficial impact

23

Harmful impact

26

Responses

30

Conclusions and Recommendations

47

Conclusions

47

Recommendations

47

Next steps

49

Definitions

50

Contributors

55

Bibliography

56

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Executive Summary \ 1

Executive Summary At the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting held in Gaborone, Botswana from 5–8 May 2014, Law Ministers, in adopting the Report of the Commonwealth Group of Experts on Cybercrime,1 ‘stressed that cybercrime was a global matter and any weak link provided opportunities for criminals. Prevention was of crucial importance, and the effort to combat cybercrime required collaboration with a wide range of national, regional and international organisations and with the private sector and civil society.’ In endorsing the Commonwealth Secretariat’s programme of work, the Ministers also accepted the recommendations of the report, which included the proposal that ‘every Commonwealth jurisdiction should have an up-to-date and comprehensive legal framework to combat cybercrime’. To further its mandate to provide technical assistance to Commonwealth member countries, particularly in the areas of cybercrime, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), the Secretariat convened a Round Table on Virtual Currencies from 17–18 February 2015, comprising representatives from ten member countries2 and from regional and int