“A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”

“A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”

In describing the vision underpinning “Tomorrowland,” Walt Disney said: “A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements…a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideas....” He could have been referencing blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Walt Disney was often described as a visionary and an innovator. I would say that if he was alive today, he would have already dabbled in emerging technologies like blockchain. Perhaps we would even have an entire park dedicated solely to an immersive metaverse experience, where crypto would be the currency of choice for purchasing entry. I could continue with the Disney dream by describing the different types of technology beyond artificial intelligence (AI) that would be utilized.

The what-ifs are a fascinating thought experiment; however, malefactors across the globe are putting to work this new technology in not so friendly ways. The cover article of this edition dives into the novel financial crimes using blockchain technology that are affecting, as the headline succinctly states, “National Security in the Age of Cryptocurrencies.” As the authors further describe, “blockchain intelligence takes the raw, accessible public blockchain data and layers it with threat intelligence.” This data is available to anyone on the blockchain. Anti-financial crime (AFC) professionals can use this information to make informed decisions when building compliance programs that include cryptocurrencies and help in identifying possible national security threats.

Continuing with the theme of exploring new frontiers as suggested by Disney, the second cover article, “Combating TBML With Smart Contracts,” offers a possible solution in the fight against trade-based money laundering (TBML) by hypothesizing the use of smart contracts that use blockchain technology to strengthen the resilience of financial institutions (FIs) against TBML threats. Smart contracts offer heightened transparency, automated monitoring and real-time verification to mention just a few of the benefits for the compliance community.

The innovation of criminals is astounding and in the AFC industry it really is no surprise to learn in the article “The Black Market for Used Cooking Oil” that stealing used oil from restaurants is a thriving new market for criminals. It is a newly discovered sector that could reach $10 billion by 2028. Working together with law enforcement and legislators, AFC professionals can help in creating stricter laws and environments to deter this type of crime.

Unfortunately, criminals always use technology in nefarious ways to advance their illegal endeavors. The article, “A New Threat on the Horizon: AI-Generated CSAM,” shows how perpetrators are generating ultra-realistic AI child sexual abuse material (CSAM) to revictimize children who have already been sexually abused or exploited. FIs should stay vigilant of any new platforms to mitigate risk for this vulnerable population and to curb the availability of CSAM.

Many have heard of Disney Imagineers who develop new attractions for the different parks. AFC professionals are the imagineers who are constantly developing the latest methods to combat financial crime. This edition highlights some of those developments in articles covering bitcointhe beneficial ownership ruledealing with cannabislearning how to mitigate pig butchering and identifying how chatbots may be used as a weapon in recruitment fraud.

As the ride Carousel of Progress’ theme song states: “There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day…[and ending financial crime] is just a dream away.”

Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS
Follow us on : @acamstoday,

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