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BIPR | The Human Trafficking Initiative Series – Advantages of the Blockchain. Disrupting Organized Crime through Law Enforcement, Private and Other Non-Traditional Partnerships
The Human Trafficking Initiative Series – Advantages of the Blockchain. Disrupting Organized Crime through Law Enforcement, Private and Other Non-Traditional Partnerships

November 20, 2023 - 18:30

Alexandra Andhov - Michal Gromek - Alexandra Malangone

Event Recap

Cryptocurrency may be intricate, but blockchain—the technology underpinning it—holds the key to significant innovations. Dr. Alexandra Andhov, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, sheds light on the transformative potential of blockchain, distinguishing it from the often-misunderstood realm of cryptocurrencies. While cryptocurrencies are mired in controversy, associated with illicit activities like ransomware and dark web transactions, blockchain stands apart as an engine for positive change. It offers a robust solution to the limitations of digital currencies, with the caveat that success hinges on the comprehensive education of policymakers, investigators and regulators.

With a value of 1.5 trillion dollars and over 11,000 digital assets, the cryptocurrency market is a testament to innovation. It has seen market capitalizations peak at three trillion dollars, reflecting an active, ever-expanding market. Dr. Andhov underscores the global embrace of cryptocurrency, particularly in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Bitcoin, broke away from conventional financial systems, empowering the people—especially the 30-40% worldwide who lack traditional banking services. Despite these advances, resistance persists due to the use of cryptocurrencies in human trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime.

Blockchain, as Dr. Andhov explains, is more than a technological foundation for cryptocurrencies; it is a revolutionary, transparent database that publicly records and secures data across blocks. This transparency permits public observation of any changes, fostering trust. Versatile in its applications, blockchain technology can revolutionize industries from real estate to finance. Its decentralized nature means that no single entity has control; rather, a collective agreement is necessary to enact changes. The public, private, and hybrid forms of blockchain pose unique regulatory challenges, highlighting the need for nuanced governance approaches.

The intricacies of cryptocurrency often leave governments grappling with appropriate regulatory measures. Michal Gromek, an virtual asset expert to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime highlights the human difficulty in comprehending such sophisticated technology. In his engaging talk, Mr. Gromek demonstrated the power of blockchain-based tools for investigating and safeguarding those made vulnerable by conflict or warfare. He argued that no technology is inherently negative or a cure-all; rather, its impact depends on the users and their intentions. He underscored blockchain's groundbreaking transparency, offering unprecedented means to track finances and financial transactions far beyond the capabilities (and willingness) of traditional banking systems.

Dr. Andhov and Mr. Gromek acknowledged the European Union's significant step forward with the Markets in Crypto Assets Regulation (MiCA), which standardizes crypto asset regulation across EU states. Nevertheless, Gromek warns that regulation alone is insufficient; proactive and continuous action is vital. Advancing truly transformative change calls for commitment from governments, law enforcement, and legal professionals to enhance their grasp of blockchain technology and its profound potential to alter social frameworks.



The Human Trafficking Initiative Series – Advantages of the Blockchain. Disrupting Organized Crime through Law Enforcement, Private and Other Non-Traditional Partnerships

hosted by Professor Sara Pennicino

Alexandra Andhov
Copenhagen University
Michal Gromek
Digital Asset Taskforce (DATF), Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime
Alexandra Malangone
Moderator - Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe

For further information on the Human Trafficking Initiative you can visit our website or contact Alexandra Malangone.

ALEXANDRA ANDHOV

Alexandra Andhov is a distinguished authority in law and technology. She currently holds the position of Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. Andhov's expertise lies in understanding and regulating emergent technologies, encompassing areas like blockchain, crypto assets, and artificial intelligence. In the realm of academia, Andhov infuses her teaching with an entrepreneurial spirit. She has pioneered courses centred on start-up law, blockchain regulation, and computational legal thought. Beyond her academic pursuits, Andhov stands as the founder of the Copenhagen Legal/Tech Lab. This initiative serves as a nexus for research and education, championing legal innovation within the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Law. In 2019, Alexandra's academic excellence was further acknowledged during her tenure as a Fulbright Scholar at Cornell Law School. At present, Andhov plays a pivotal role on several advisory boards for fintech companies, international NGO Finance Watch, and is a member of the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime and its Digital Assets Taskforce. In September 2023, Andhov was appointed as an International Affiliated Scholar with the Blockchain Law for Social Good Center in San Francisco. Her proactive involvement with the Nordic start-up ecosystem, coupled with her advisory roles, stands as a testament to her dynamic and forward-thinking approach in her domain.

ALEXANDRA MALANGONE

Alexandra Malangone is a Slovak lawyer who has coordinated the CCSDD Human Trafficking Chapter since September 2020. In 2012 Malangone began working for the Human Rights League - a prominent Slovak NGO in the field of immigration and asylum law. She is one of the leading experts on issues relating to the protection of human rights of victims of trafficking in the country. From 2008-2016, she served as an independent national expert in the Council of Europe GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) and was a rapporteur for Denmark, Norway, Italy, Latvia, and Slovenia. From 2006 to 2009 she was a UN Office on Drugs and Crime National Project Officer in Bratislava, Slovakia, heading the local UNODC office. Prior to this, she worked as a junior for the OSCE Special Representative and Coordinator on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. Malangone graduated in International and European Law from Utrecht University and holds a Masters degree in International Cooperation and Development from the University of Pavia. In June 2016, she participated in a three week International Visitor Leadership Programme on Human Trafficking run by the US State Department. Malangone has most recently consulted for the OSCE OSR Office (Simulation based training on combating human trafficking in mixed-migratory flows), OSCE/ODIHR (National Referral Mechanisms), the Council of Europe (Alternatives to Detention), UNODC Morocco (National Referral Mechanism in Morocco) and ECPAT Austria (Safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults).
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