Cash, Crime, and Cryptocurrencies

32 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2019

See all articles by Joshua R. Hendrickson

Joshua R. Hendrickson

University of Mississippi

William J. Luther

Florida Atlantic University; American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: February 8, 2019


In The Curse of Cash, Kenneth Rogoff lists reductions in criminal activity and tax evasion among the primary benefits of eliminating cash. We maintain that, to the extent that individuals are interested in purchasing illicit goods and services or evading taxes, eliminating cash will encourage them to switch to close substitutes. Hence, governments intent on realizing the benefits cited by Rogoff would not merely need to eliminate cash. They would also need to ban alternatives. This is especially relevant given the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, which provide a fair degree of anonymity for users.

Keywords: bitcoin, cash, crime, criminal activity, cryptocurrency, currency, money, money matching, political economy, tax, taxation; tax evasion

JEL Classification: C78, E41, E42, E50

Suggested Citation

Hendrickson, Joshua R. and Luther, William J., Cash, Crime, and Cryptocurrencies (February 8, 2019). AIER Sound Money Project Working Paper No. 2019-01, Available at SSRN: or

Joshua R. Hendrickson

University of Mississippi ( email )

Oxford, MS 38677
United States

William J. Luther (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University ( email )

777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
United States


American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States


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