In BC, an expert panel commissioned by the provincial government has estimated that $5.3 billion/year is laundered through real estate transactions (pg. 54): Even if every single cryptocurrency trade in Canada was done by criminals for the purpose of money laundering, it wouldn't come close to the scale of money laundering in BC, in one year, using real estate.

For years now I've been on panels where people bring up money laundering using cryptocurrency (always without evidence). To the extent that anyone took this idea seriously, they've apparently been looking in the wrong place. I hope that this new research about money laundering helps refocus Canadian regulators' attention on the boring, old-fashioned reality of financial crimes in Canada, and around the world.

The BC report linked above doesn't mention cryptocurrency (because it's not relevant), but it lines up with all of the reports I've read from foreign governments and organizations like FATF. Despite the hype and interest around cryptocurrency, it's a negligible element of money laundering worldwide.

Here are some examples of how criminals accomplish large scale money laundering:

$20 billion laundered through Deutsche Bank in 2010-2014

HSBC fined $1.9 billion USD for its role in money laundering by major drug cartels in Mexico

UBS ordered to pay 4.5 billion Euros for money laundering and other offences in France