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School of Law

Andreas Karapatakis


PhD Student


Thesis title

Digital currencies, Blockchain technology and Money laundering: The challenge for regulation under EU Law


Dr Saskia Hufnagel, Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas and Dr Niovi Vavoula

Summary of Research

The technological developments and the proliferation of computers and communications has changed every aspect of the modern society with inevitable effects on the criminality of human behaviour. Despite its positive features, the internet also served as a new harbour for criminals who found this fortress of anonymity extremely attractive. This new environment has inevitably “influenced” the crime of money laundering. Infinite networks that allow instant transactions, transfers and conversions of real-world money to digital currency are few of the factors that render the fight against this type of money laundering tremendously challenging.

This PhD project examines the crime of money laundering through digital currencies and blockchain technology focusing particularly on the challenge to regulate two particular types of digital currencies, namely cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) which operate with blockchain technology and in-game currencies which appear in the environment of virtual worlds. Specifically, the thesis will address the gap in the existing EU legal framework concerning digital currencies and suggest solutions for reform. The ultimate purpose is to study the technology from a legal perspective which will lead to the provision of guidelines on how the European Union and society more broadly can benefit from this technology.


Andreas holds a Bachelor of Laws from the School of Law at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Following that, he obtained a Master of Laws in Criminal Justice from Queen Mary University of London with a distinction (2017). Upon completion of the LLM, he was selected for a traineeship at the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium and he was granted a Robert Schuman scholarship. Andreas returned to legal practise and worked for a criminal defence Law Firm in Athens, Greece and was admitted to the Athens Bar Association (2020). In September of 2019, Andreas joined the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London as a PhD candidate.


  • Author of “Case C-128/18 Dorobantu – the Aftermath of Aranyosi and Căldăraru”, European Law Blog
  • Author of “Virtual Worlds and money laundering, the inadequacy of existing legal framework and a challenge for regulation under EU law”, The new Journal of European Criminal Law, Volume: 10 issue: 2, page(s): 128-150
  • Co-author of the study “Copyright Law in the EU: Salient features of copyright law across the EU Member States” published by the European Parliament Think Tank, Brussels, Belgium, (available online at:

Book reviews

  • Fijnaut C, A Peaceful Revolution: The Development of Police and Judicial Cooperation in the European Union (Intersentia 2019) - New Journal of European Criminal Law, forthcoming


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