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Blockchain & Fraud Prevention: What’s Holding Back Progress?

Businesses have several obstacles to overcome if they’re to use blockchain to tighten digital security and prevent fraud, say experts from American University’s Kogod School of Business


Wed May 5 2021

Blockchain has great potential when it comes to securing digital assets and combating fraudulent activity, which has surged amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to IBM executive Jesus Mantas, there has been a 6,000% increase in COVID-related spam since the pandemic began, leaving many vulnerable to phishing and scams that their bank accounts need protection from.

Casey Evans, blockchain expert and professor of finance and accounting at American University’s Kogod School of Business, says blockchain technology can help fraud detection because it enables the sharing of information in real-time and all participants in a blockchain have visibility over transactions.

One of Casey’s goals is to educate future business leaders on the anti-fraud applications of blockchain. She teaches Kogod MBA students about the technology and has developed a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Accounting, which encourages professionals to expand their knowledge in an exciting field. The course focuses on fraud schemes, financial reporting, valuation and financial statement analysis, helping students get a full picture of fraud and accounting. 

BusinessBecause caught up with Casey and Kogod MBA alum and fellow blockchain expert Jose Arrieta (below) to find out more about the challenges blockchain faces when it comes to fraud prevention.


Lack of awareness and education

Blockchain remains enigmatic with 25% of Americans unsure what it actually means or how it works according to Vorhaus Advisors. This is a serious challenge that business schools are trying to tackle. 

“At American University, we have two MBA elective classes that students can take to better understand blockchain. When they know the basics of how fraud works, they look at everything with a whole new lens", Casey shares.

Kogod also hosts an annual Blockchain Forum which is an education and research-based initiative focusing on blockchain applications in business. 

For Jose, a former Kogod student who's now an adjunct professor in blockchain at Johns Hopkins University, the Kogod MBA offered some important insights into how tech innovation can impact business.

“My MBA didn’t teach me about coding or encryption, but it taught me to look at the technology and create and prepare a business argument about how the technology would affect the business model,” he explains.

“Regardless of how good a technology is, if you can’t articulate its value in human terms, you don’t have a business”.


Limited uptake

Although many organizations are starting to use blockchain it’s still not industry standard, and has limited uptake, with some companies being reluctant to dive into the unknown.

Kogod is working to educate students on blockchain, enabling them to revolutionize the use of this technology. 

After completing his MBA at Kogod, Jose worked his way into the federal government and used blockchain to bring huge databases and supply chains together in the first functioning blockchain of its kind in the United States. 

Jose’s development was fast-tracked in his MBA, as he was immersed in a diverse cohort where community and communication were highly valued, he says.

The communication skills he built prepared him for a career bringing together individuals and corporations through blockchains. Jose has been a key facilitator in the creation of broad networks of traceable links that fight fraud.

However, many companies are not yet securing their assets with blockchain, leaving them vulnerable. This technology is still new, and to keep companies safe, it must spread.

Lack of regulation

Powered by blockchain technology, bitcoin is one of the most well-known cryptocurrencies, that despite the transparent nature of blockchain, can offer you anonymity. Bitcoin is the most accessible part of the blockchain and investors and consumers are getting in on the bitcoin boom.

But being decentralized there’s no regulation for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin yet and its dispersal into the consumer market has led to a whole host of issues.

With the commercialization of bitcoin, you can see “pyramid schemes around blockchain with people using those initial coin offerings that essentially go bad because you hear about falsified documents, fake business plans, all created to entice people who don't know a lot about how blockchain works and just want in", Casey explains.

Without market regulation, these very tools for preventing fraud can be used to perpetrate it.

Casey sheds some light on this: “Regulators are starting to get clued in, but the lack of regulations still causes a lot of issues. Bitcoin is still relatively new in terms of trying to figure out how to combat fraud against it, because you really follow the same steps that you would for any fraud, by just trying to create awareness".

With broader blockchain education, corporate use, and regulation, it could evolve even further to protect consumers and businesses alike. 

Business schools like Kogod are playing a role in tackling the challenges blockchain faces, widening awareness of blockchain technology and creating the next generation of industry experts who can help blockchain better prevent fraud.

Student Reviews

Kogod School of Business - American University




On Campus

Clean and well maintained campus

I am completely enamored with this school. The entire student body is driven, inclusive, and highly intelligent. The decision to attend American University is not made haphazardly. Its close proximity to Washington DC, making it one of the most strategically located schools after Georgetown, means it's just a short train ride away. The campus is well-maintained, with mostly attractive buildings, although there are a few that are less appealing. Additionally, there are numerous excellent food options available. The wide range of clubs and organizations to join is remarkable. It is undeniably a school filled with immense passion.




On Campus

City life

I’m having a wonderful time at American University. I love that I can get to a big city and still feel like a traditional campus. Sincerely, it is a school that may require some adjusting to, but in the end, it is a very good school with numerous opportunities for its students. The atmosphere in AU is so great that it pushes you in a positive way and offers every opportunity you could want.




On Campus

Amazing helpful professors

American College is an incredible school with astounding teachers. Best professors I could have asked for at an amazing school. My opinion is that American University's professors are its greatest asset. They are extremely intelligent and always eager to assist their students. They go above and beyond in their classes to make sure that their students do their best.




On Campus

AU Review

The workload is quite high and AU is definitely not an "easy" school. Students take their studies very seriously and can almost always find a group in the library, DAV, Starbucks or MGC. Courses can be quite ambitious if the right courses are offered and the admissions process can be confusing at times, but with the help of an advisor it is quite easy to navigate. The library can be crowded, and while it's not huge, there are plenty of other places to study on campus. The professors really want to help during office hours and interact with students. I've had good experiences with the professors and workload at AU, but it's an expensive city.




On Campus

Majoring in Political and International Relations

The instructors are unique and the classes can be boring at times. Check-in is stressful (but it is everywhere). The workload is what I expected. The most popular majors are international relations and political science




On Campus

I Love Being A Musical Theater Major

I love being a musical theater student, if you want to help behind the scenes, if you want to be an assistant director, if you want to be a director, if you want to write, you can do anything at this academy, very supportive, it's amazing, they are always there to help you. This is their working time. Even after the audition tells you what you did wrong, you can do better, or if you get picked, you know why they picked you, which is great




On Campus

AU's Business Model

Overall, there were a lot of good opportunities at UA, both in terms of course range and faculty. However, I had a few complete misfires. People who shouldn't have taught at all. Like all universities, AU's business model is to hire hands-on assistants so they don't have to pay them extra or perform well. They are signed and if that does not work, they are not hired any more. The problem with this is that you end up with people who are unqualified and bring their own agendas, biases that may or may not be based on research. Most of the professors were absolutely fantastic.




On Campus

AU - The Real Problem With Academics

Some teachers are amazing, some awful - typical of any school. But the real problem with AU is that many students don't care about academics as much as other things (eg, partying). The academics are really interrupted by the Greek life and the social life of the students. This makes it difficult for students interested in academics to get the most out of their school experience. Some students do not take classes seriously and do not respect teachers and other students. Courses and opportunities at UA are perfect for people who want to take advantage




On Campus

American University - The Best Place to Study

They know their stuff - I chose American University because the campus is beautiful and the biology program is relatively small. But after the first semester, I realized that all the professors, especially the people in the science department, are experts in their field. They are enthusiastic and helpful in lecturing; even the TAs who teach the labs are amazing and engaging.




On Campus

Engaging Students and Incredible Professors

I would 100% recommend this school. I am a Marine Corps Veteran and proud AU alum. NI received my BA in Comparative Politics at AU in 2017. It was engaging and worth every minute. I was constantly engaged with the material the material and was fascinated by the culture the school presented. As an older student I was nervous to go to a highly competitive college but with the culture of both student and staff it was enjoyable through and through.