“Cryptocurrency is a significant issue in law enforcement,'' says FBI

  • The FBI is reportedly keeping track of cryptocurrencies.
  • The US should avoid putting any effort into dealing with cryptocurrencies, a senator from Utah claimed. 

Christopher Wray, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), recently expressed concerns in a hearing about possible security threats that the US is facing. The hearing was held before the US Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs. Senators asked leaders from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center a few questions. These questions were related to counterterrorism efforts, foreign influence in elections, cybersecurity measures, border security and cryptocurrencies.

Mitt Romney, former Presidential Candidate and Republican Senator from Utah, also questioned the intelligence officers. He wanted to know if the US should avoid putting any effort into dealing with cryptocurrencies and the challenges they present to law enforcement’s anti-terrorist activities. He said:

I’m not in the Banking Committee. I don’t begin to understand how cryptocurrency works. I would think it is more difficult to carry out your work when we can’t follow the money because the money is hidden from us and wonder whether there should not be some kind of effort taken in our nation to deal with cryptocurrency.

FBI Director Wray responded saying that cryptocurrencies already pose a threat to the agency. He stated:

For us, cryptocurrency is already a significant issue and we can project out pretty easily that it’s going to become a bigger and bigger one. Whether or not that is the subject of some kind of regulation as the response is harder for me to speak to.

Wray further added that the FBI is vigilant about cryptocurrencies, using “tools that we have to try to follow the money.” He also stated that the US will soon find itself being “walled off” lest it stays updated with the new technologies.  

Peter Dutton, the Australian Minister of Home Affairs, also expressed his views during a counter-terror conference in Melbourne. He stated that terrorists are exploiting cryptocurrencies to “fund their deadly missions.” As per Dutton, the anonymity of cryptocurrencies allows extremists to avert scrutiny. He believes that the increased usage of digital currencies, online payment systems, and crowd-funding platforms may become a source of funding terrorism. 

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