6 Banks Total $139 Billion in Bank Fines Since 2000: Cost of Dirty Money Outnumbers Total Crypto Market Cap Extensively, Need for a Plan ₿
The common narrative among the regulators and mainstream media is that Bitcoin makes it easy for the criminals to launder money. But the real picture is something else entirely. If we take a look at the fines paid by the banking giants all over the world, the total market cap of the cryptocurrency market would fall extremely short of it.
Every year, more than a trillion dollars are funneled through the traditional banking system illegally. Most of these cases center around the inadequacies in anti-money laundering (AML) controls that resulted in record fines. But given the fact that every year more cases make an appearance, it is really questionable if these fines that have surged into billions of dollars have made any dent at all.
Just recently, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had reported that these shady transactions continue to climb as high as $2 trillion a year.
Taking a glance at the last year’s scandals, it shows us the extent some large institutions have acted as key enablers in the illicit financial flows worldwide.
Denmark’s largest bank, Danske bank dominated the headline in 2018 that has been considered the biggest money-laundering scandal to date. The bank is facing investigations and criminal charges in Denmark and the US that could result in billion dollars of fine and jail time for failing to investigate and report suspicious transactions.
The money handled by the small Estonian branch has been reportedly ten times more than the entire GDP of the country.
Deutsche Bank is another big name that has spent over US$18 billion in fines to settle disputes related to financial crimes over the past decade. It was reportedly one of the key facilitators in Danske Bank scandal that processed and managed over four-fifths of the US$235 billion of dirty money through a US subsidiary with the remaining amount handled by Bank of America.
1MDB and Goldman Sachs, Pilatus Bank, ABLV Bank Latvia, ING, US Bancorp, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Rabobank, and UBS are some of the worst offenders of last year.
Since 2000, Bank of America alone has paid nearly Bitcoin’s entire market cap in fine. Goldman Sachs, Well Fargo, Citigroup, Deutsche, and JP Morgan combined with Bank of America has paid close to the entire market cap in fines. These six banks total up a tally of $139 billion in bank fines and fees in the past 19 years alone.
Bank fines since 2000:
Bank of America: $58B
Wells Fargo: $14B
Deutsche Bank: $12B
Goldman Sachs: $9B
It’s time for plan ₿
— Dan Hedl (@danheld) March 26, 2019
The problem that persists here is not just the ability of the banks but also their willingness to stop dirty money from flowing through the financial system. Regulatory actions have led to hefty fines but in comparison to the gains reaped from managing the high-risk transactions and customers are fairly insignificant.
Given the way it is growing, will it ever even stop or reduce?
There is certainly a need for a plan B. Here comes Bitcoin which is a peer-to-peer network that wipes out intermediaries and settles transactions using distributed ledgers that can’t be modified, erased, or manipulated.
Unlike cash transactions, Bitcoin transactions can be traced and tracked on the blockchain. However, people still prefer banks and still use cash and given the fact that Bitcoin is still in its nascent stage, for plan B to be in motion, it still need time.