Terrorists still raise money through crypto, but the impact is limited

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We’re living today “amidst an explosion of risk related to fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, and data privacy,” said United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in February — and she specifically cited cryptocurrencies as a “tool to finance terrorism.”

Yellen appeared to be flagging an important new turn in the war against terror, and it begged some questions: Is crypto in the hands of terrorists a real, present danger to governments and society? If so, should the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry be worried?

Recent evidence suggests that crypto’s role as an enabler of terrorism globally remains relatively minor. “Cryptocurrencies have been used in several terror finance cases, but it has not yet become a primary means of terror financing,”Matthew Levitt, director of the Jeanette and Eli Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Cointelegraph.

Gina Pieters, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, told Cointelegraph: “Her [Yellen’s] statement is factually true — it is a tool.” But Yellen also chose her words carefully. “She did not say it was a major tool — she specifically said it was a growing one. And that is also true, as cryptocurrencies grow they will be used in more criminal activities.”

Increasing apprehensions about crypto?

Dave Jevans, CEO of CipherTrace, expressed some unease about the treasury secretary’s remarks. “If leaders like Janet Yellen set a fearful attitude toward cryptocurrencies associated with criminality, regulators could take harsh action to impose more strict rules on…

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