Can Cryptocurrencies Be Used For Terror Activities?

Can Cryptocurrencies Be Used For Terror Activities?
Can Cryptocurrencies Be Used For Terror Activities?

Can Cryptocurrencies Be Used For Terror Activities?

After last week’s US Senate meet with the chairman of CFTC and SEC, a bill that is currently in the US Senate would call the federal personnel including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to conduct and share a threat assessment on the use of cryptos for terrorist activities with law enforcement bodies.

US Senate reviewing the assessment of crypto terror threat bill

A bill that is currently in the US Senate would be calling the federal personnel that would also involve the Department of Homeland Security. This is done in order to develop a threat assessment explaining how cryptocurrencies can be used to support terrorist activities and to share this assessment with other law enforcement bodies.

With a rapid rise in people’s interest in cryptocurrencies, there has been a number of new investments flooding into the crypto market. From professional investors, speculators to companies, all are interested in entering and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of it slowing down anytime soon.

However, this increased interest is leading to greater scrutiny from government authorities, around the world, that also includes United State Congress. Recently, a hearing of the chairman of SEC and CFTC has been held in the US Senate Committee.

Despite being all the hype about cryptos being the future of financial transactions, there is still a stigma attached to cryptos that they are being used for illegal activities.

The HR22433 bill – DHS to coordinate with other federal partners

Last May, the representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Kathleen Rice (D-NY) introduced a bill HR22433 that basically aims to push the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate with other federal partners in order to conduct a threat assessment on virtual currencies.

To put it more specifically, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis is called on by the bill to inspect “the threat posed by individuals using virtual currency to carry out activities in furtherance of an act of terrorism, including the provision of material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.”

Once the assessment is completed, the DHS would have to share the findings with other law enforcement bodies at the local, state and federal levels.

Why a debate on use of cryptocurrencies in terror activities?

Apparently, there have been suspicions about the use of bitcoin by ISIS to fund its terrorist activities. Another similar suspicious attempt has been by a Pakistani-born US resident Zombie Shehnaz, who has been charged with money laundering and bank fraud. She had obtained these funds fraudulently by using them to purchase cryptocurrencies that also involved bitcoin.

Shehnaz was making a number of wire transfers to vague individuals and entities located overseas. According to the court documents:

“These transactions were motivated to benefit ISIS, which the defendant ultimately sought to join in Syria.”

Last week, a hearing was held by the US Senate to amend the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act through HB2825. A section of this contains a similar language as HR2433, and before it was sent over to the Senate, it got successfully passed last year. Moreover, since then no action has been taken by the Senate that apparently means the assessment request is cleared.  

Whichever the way, the cryptos are certainly on the regulators’ radar. However, we have to wait and see if these assessments will bring any changes or not. What do you think of this bill? Do you think it will affect the crypto regulations in the US? Let us know below! 

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I am an entrepreneur and a writer with a bachelors degree in Computer Science. I manage the blockchain technology and crypto coverages at Coingape. Reach out to me at [email protected]

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