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The Role of Bitcoin in Crime Concerns US Officials


Ben Kothe / BuzzFeed Stories; Getty Images (3)

The same journalist self-proclaimed Azym Abdullah did not need a lot of money to set up an ISIS website that could broadcast dangerous videos. His needs were secret, which is why in 2014 he allegedly turned into a cryptocurrency currency.

He paid more than 1 bitcoin, about $ 400 at the time, to register the Icelandic name and store it on servers around the world. Her page asks visitors to make a donation to help pay for it. They, too, were in bitcoin.

Sending donations in this way allowed those who gave him money to protect their posters behind letters and numbers – a legitimate way that prevents banks, regulators, and the US Treasury from pursuing and reducing terrorist financing.

Abdullah’s reliance on bitcoin was documented in a spy report at the 2017 Treasure department, which was received by BuzzFeed News as part of a series of documents that included internal emails and reports on cryptocurrency transactions. The spying scandal also reveals evidence of nine other incidents where terrorists used money to extort money from their activities, by buying airline tickets to destroy a political page in preparation for a trip to Syria.

Many companies are used to buy legitimate products. But these documents provide information on the ongoing war, sometimes lagging behind, against the use of crypto technology in promoting terrorism and crime, as well as the various ways in which crypto – known to be the most anonymous and easy to transfer worldwide – can be used for good.

For example, in 2016, researchers at the U.S. Treasury department of the Financial Crimes Enforcing Network, or FinCEN, released claims about so-called combinations – companies that disrupt crypto events in small pieces to protect their ownership. When these companies operate in the US, they are required to register with FinCEN and provide information on suspicious clients and their activities. But the report, which is one of the documents BuzzFeed News received, found that “of the 30 major mixed services, no one had registered … or shown any evidence that the program was being followed.”

It did not happen until four years later when the government took action. Last year, FinCEN stupid one of the $ 60 million mix for failing to “collect and verify customer names, addresses, and other identification details in more than 1.2 million sales.” This, the government found, assisted criminals involved in drug trafficking, fraud, falsehoods, and child abuse as well as the Nazi party and other white supremacist groups. FinCEN He said followed events worth more than $ 2,000 from the mixer to the so-called page Welcome to Video which had weapons of child abuse.

BuzzFeed News reports that Treasure Department is concerned with crypto technology for at least 10 years. FinCEN is now experimenting change his laws so that any company working with cryptocurrency should know more about their customers and what they do.

FinCEN and the Department of Justice did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Alex Fradkin of BuzzFeed Stories

Office of the Financial Crimes Enforcing Network, part of the US Treasury department, in Vienna, Virginia

Yaya Fanusie, a former CIA researcher and security expert on cryptocurrencies, said he believed US officials were at the forefront of their European counterparts in tackling the problem. But, like other experts quoted by BuzzFeed News, he said he sees the need for a new team of financial analysts to prevent cryptocurrency money from being misused by terrorists, hackers, and other terrorists.

“For the people at the bottom, crypto is a bit more complex than the traditional cost-cutting methods,” says Fanusie, who is now a senior official at the Center for New American Security. “As soon as skills and resources are used in the field.”

As regulators and companies gradually evolve, cryptocurrencies remain robust, while terrorists feel they can use them to solicit donations for retirement. August ended in the Department of Justice he announced that an investigation conducted in collaboration with the Treasure department seized millions of dollars as part of a “massive seizure of cryptocurrency terrorist accounts.”

One of the to spread explained how al-Qaeda and its affiliated groups have repeatedly run money-solving applications for crypto accounts on TV accounts. They then used the network to provide funds “to achieve their terrorist intentions.” One of al-Qaeda’s government-affiliated networks received more than 15 billion bitcoins, valued at $ 187, in 187 transactions between Feb. 5, 2019, and Feb 25, 2020.

Crypto technology is squeezing the same weak points in the financial system that were first explored by FinCEN files, an international work published by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists at the end of 2020. Media outlets have found that major Western financial institutions allow dirty money to travel around the world in the eyes of the US. Like traditional currencies, bitcoin and other crypto currencies can test the ability of financial institutions to comply with their actions, as well as the ability of US officials to crack down on crime.

At his hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen He said cryptocurrency has the potential to “improve financial performance.”

“Immediately,” he said, “it could be used to pay for terrorism, aids money laundering, and to support the evils that threaten US national security and the loyalty of US and international financial institutions.”

Pool / Getty Images

Janet Yellen at a Senate Finance meeting, January 19th

Cryptocurrency is easier to operate than other financial instruments, allowing terrorists to transfer goods to different parts of the world – an opportunity to try to avoid being monitored by US law enforcement or detecting them approaching.

“You can run to the authorities or organizations that don’t care,” said Pawel Kuskowski, CEO of Coinfirm, a cryptocurrency accountant and tracking company. “It’s a way to protect yourself by knowing that they are receiving illegal money.”

Currently there are thousands of different currencies being sold in a market that continues to be kept secret. In most cases, cryptocurrency holders exchange these funds and place them in wallets with randomly selected addresses in letters and numbers – another anonymous cloak that conceals the holders.

Just as banks have a responsibility to monitor the performance of their customers, crypto exchanges are required to comply with regulations. It also sends suspicious reports to the government, or SARs, of the same forms that banks use in the event of violent incidents.

But some exchanges are backtracking against FinCEN’s concept of stricter laws, citing requirements as more complex than what banks face. Square, a payment company founded by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and financial institutions such as Andreessen Horowitz also said the new rules would be burdensome and could violate customers’ privacy rights.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a public statement earlier this year that it thought FinCEN’s laws were aimed at “violating the rights of cryptocurrency users” and “providing the government with access to financial information.” ●


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