WATCH: Chainalysis Chief Economist Wants Crypto to Move Past ‘Buying Drugs on the Silk Road’ – CoinDesk

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CoinDesk sat down with Chainalysis’ chief economist Philip Gladwell to get a macro-view of the crypto market.

Speaking at Invest: NYC 2019, Gladwell said the crypto-sleuthing firm has found that only 30 percent of bitcoin is actually liquid. Of this value exchanged, more and more of it is going towards legitimate merchant services, a departure from crypto’s first use case: “buying drugs on the Silk Road.”

“In recent months there has been a lot of disruption to [dark] markets, law enforcement has taken down a number of those sites. That’s actually reduced their size in the overall crypto economy,” Gladwell said.

One notable example was the investigation and closure of Welcome to Video, the world’s largest child exploitation site, according to Gladwell. Chainalysis participated in the global cooperative effort to shutter the site and arrest the alleged perpetrators, by analyzing crypto transactions used to pay for child pornography.

“We were able to help the [IRS and Homeland Security] understand were the bitcoin came from or where it got cashed out to,” Gladwell said. “You shouldn’t underestimate the amount of non-blockchain investigations,” that contributed to the effort, he added.

Gladwell also addressed how law enforcement might respond to the distribution of privacy-protecting coins, such as Zcash, as well as the open industry debate as to how much personally identifiable information exchanges should keep under Financial Action Task Force’s “Travel Rule.”

“The industry needs to work out what the right solution is,” Gladwell said.

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This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.

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