The emergence of cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for terrorists, rogue nations and other criminals who present a threat to U.S. national security, the Department of Justice said Thursday in a report.
Law enforcement is hampered by the worldwide reach of digital coins and the lack of consistent regulation across regions, which is “detrimental to the safety and stability of the international financial system,” the report found. Newer entities using crypto, such as peer-to-peer exchanges, kiosk operators and online casinos, don’t comply with record-keeping and reporting requirements, undermining investigators.
“Current terrorist use of cryptocurrency may represent the first raindrops of an oncoming storm of expanded use,” Attorney General William Barr’s Cyber-Digital Task Force said in the report. “Cryptocurrency also provides bad actors and rogue nation states with the means to earn profits.”
The report comes as federal prosecutors have gone after individuals tied to cryptocurrency in recent weeks. Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, who prosecutors allege earned money through promoting cryptocurrencies, was arrested just days ago on tax-evasion charges. The founders of crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX were charged last week for skirting US. law preventing money laundering.
The Department of Justice said in the report that it will “continue its aggressive investigation and prosecution of a wide range of malicious actors,” and that it encourages international cooperation in conducting investigations and making arrests.