Christopher Wray notes that terrorists seek alternatives that allow anonymity. US senators wonder if the country should take measures regarding cryptocurrencies.
Christopher Wray, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sees cryptocurrencies as a considerable problem that will become even bigger.
Wray stated his opinion while responding to senators’ concerns about Bitcoin and other crypto assets, during a hearing before the United States Senate Committee. It was revealed that at the session, which was held on November 5th, national security and government issues were discussed. There, senators asked the leaders of the FBI, National Security and the National Center for the Fight against Terrorism about “Threats to the Homeland.”
Mitt Romney, a Republican senator, asked during the hearing whether or not cryptocurrencies represent a threat large enough for the US to take action.
For his part, the head of the FBI, responding to the senator’s question, said that cryptocurrencies are already a problem.
Wray added that terrorists are becoming more knowledgeable about technology and seeking alternatives that make their evil activities anonymous. The FBI chief also said that more attention is being paid to cryptocurrencies, with tools that can monitor crypto transactions. He also believes that if the US does not put its affairs in order and keeps current with the new technologies, the country will soon be blocked.
However, despite the problems mentioned by the FBI director, the justice departments of several countries managed last October to analyze the Bitcoin network and its transaction log to discover a network of pedophiles on the dark web. The police found and arrested the site owner, originally from Korea, and criminals from several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia.
Likewise, a study of the Messari cryptocurrency market monitoring portal, published in July, showed that the ratio between US dollars related to money laundering and Bitcoin funds circulating in the dark network is 800: 1. The figure obtained in the study implies that for each fraction of the pioneering cryptocurrency equivalent to one US dollar, which is spent on a darknet, an amount of USD 800 is used in money laundering in the hidden network.
In this way, the claims of regulators and security chiefs that digital terrorists prefer cryptocurrencies seem unfounded. In fact, data from several research studies reveal that crypto assets are not used for criminal activities as much as many people think.
The research of expert Yaya J. Fanusie, former CIA counter-terrorism analyst and director of analysis at the Center for Illicit Sanctions and Finance of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies of the United States, showed in September 2018 that Terrorists prefer to handle cash to cryptocurrencies.
However, while there are those who note that cash is the king of terrorist organizations, there have also been warnings about alleged sectors that have begun to show signs of cryptocurrency adoption with the idea of supporting terrorism. Last April, it was reported that jihadist groups created multiple cryptocurrency wallets to prevent the detection of terrorist activities, but this is not fully demonstrated.
By Willmen Blanco