July 21, 2022

Ex CIA Analyst: Crypto-Gaming Vulnerable to Financial Crime

Featuring Yaya J. Fanusie

Source: The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

Journalist Will Neal

Online games that incentivize players by rewarding them with virtual assets are wide open to money laundering, scams and other forms of financial crime, according to a former CIA analyst.

The popularity of ‘play to earn’ (P2E) games, which allow players to earn cryptocurrency and NFT rewards that can then be transferred out and sold via online marketplaces and exchanges, has soared in recent years.

Yaya J. Fanusie, a former intelligence analyst and founder of consulting firm Cryptocurrency AML Strategies, told OCCRP these platforms represent a prime opportunity for cybercriminals looking to commit fraud and launder illicit proceeds.

“It’s not new to see illicit actors exploiting games to launder money and the like. The big change is the increase in the liquidity of [in-game] items,” Fanusie, who is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, said.

"There’s just a much bigger scope. The way these games have grown, there’s this whole industry that’s built up to allow people to sell items from them,” he added.

Read the full story and more from The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.


  • Yaya J. Fanusie

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy, Economics and Security Program

    Yaya J. Fanusie is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) where his research focuses on crypto, blockchain, and central bank digital currenc...