The tide is turning on the way in which law enforcers discuss cryptocurrencies and treat crypto users. The United States Secret Service has launched a cryptocurrency awareness hub featuring a cheesy public service announcement video.
The educational tool seeks to combat the “illicit use of digital assets as well as provide public awareness information on digital asset security and how to ensure it remains secure.”
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U.S. Secret Service Office of Investigations Assistant Director Jeremy Sheridan said that the hub focuses on “investigating financial crimes.” It aims to “identify, arrest, and prosecute those engaging in crimes involving digital assets.” Nonetheless, it’s critical to note that the language and tone used regarding cryptocurrency are positive.
The launch website concedes that “digital and cryptocurrencies continue to become more popular forms of payments,” hence the need for the Secret Service to be at the top of its game.
The launch of the cryptocurrency awareness hub comes two years after the Secret Service founded the Finance-Related Cybercrime Task Force. The first iteration of cryptocurrency-related activities merely showed concern for the ways in which cryptocurrencies could be used to make illegal online transactions.
In what could be a small win for the cryptocurrency community, the industry may finally be shedding its reputation as being a haven for cybercrime and illicit activity. Cryptocurrency used to be reserved for Silk Road criminals and drug users.
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However, in 2022, the Secret Service admits that:
“Investments and transactions using cryptocurrencies and digital assets are not inherently criminal.”
Broadly speaking, using cryptocurrencies on a transparent, backdating blockchain makes little sense for illicit financial activity due to the way in which blockchains can be easily monitored and tracked. The Netflix-worthy Bitfinex story involving unlikely criminals made this point very clear: it is very hard to launder money using blockchain.
Ultimately, if people want to get paid to do bad things, it’s still best to take the money in cash.
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