The increased popularity of cryptocurrencies and their widespread adoption seems to be leading to greater scrutiny by government bodies. The US senate have now become the latest to announce an assessment of cryptocurrencies and the terror threat they could be associated with.
The fact that trading in cryptocurrencies is anonymous and can’t be controlled by the government has perhaps given terrorists and their financiers a boost; something that the US Senate isn’t taking lightly. There are reports that there have been suspicious cryptocurrency transactions that have been used to finance a number of illegal activities.
In May 2017, Representatives Drek Kilmer and Kathleen Rice introduced a bill – HR2433 – that was aimed at pushing the Homeland Security Department to coordinate with their federal partners, and examine the threat that virtual currencies pose.
The bill has specifically called on the Home Security Departments of Analysis and Intelligence to assess “the threat posed by individuals using virtual currency to carry out activities in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including the provision of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization”.
Upon completion, all the involved parties would then share their findings, providing other law enforcement bodies at local, state and federal levels with the information, so that it could be acted upon.
Suspicion of ISIS Using Bitcoin
The move by the US Senate to assess the terror threat of virtual currencies has been motivated by the suspicion that ISIS have been using Bitcoin in order to fund its activities.
In 2017, Zombie Shahnaz, 27, a Pakistani-born US resident, was stopped as she was about to board a flight to Pakistan, and was charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud. She was accused of being in possession of money that was used to buy cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin online. The authorities reported that she had made several suspecting wire transfers to entities overseas.
The court documents read,
These transactions were motivated to benefit ISIS, which the defendant ultimately sought to join in Syria,
The US Senate has held hearings on amending an act, in which a section of the bill contains information similar to last year’s HR2433 bill. This clearly shows that cryptocurrencies are being observed keenly by regulators.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos
Do you think cryptocurrencies are used to finance terrorism? Who do you make of the assessment which was ordered by the US Senate? Let’s hear your thoughts.