Cryptocurrency has a very diverse range of uses from being a means of payments to being a prominent investment tool but it seems that it might soon see a lot of use as a political tool. While many world leaders have expressed concern about cryptocurrency being used as a tool for illegal activities or even terrorism, a new development implies that cryptocurrency could become a new frontier tool in the war against terrorism itself which, if successful, could increase its presence on the world stage.
Recently, United States Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker spoke at the 19th annual conference on counterterrorism and her remarks were published on the US treasury website on September 11, 2019, during which it was revealed that Mandelker believes that cryptocurrency could be the next frontier in the fight against terrorism.
Crypto and Counterterrorism
Some study has been carried into the methods by which terrorists take out the activities and Mandelker admits that while most tourists rely on cash, crypto seems to be an emerging option.
“Terrorist organizations and their supporters and sympathizers are constantly looking for new ways to raise and transfer funds without detection or tracking by law enforcement. While most terrorist groups still primarily rely on the traditional financial system and cash to transfer funds, without the appropriate strong safeguards cryptocurrencies could become the next frontier,” the report says.
It should also be noted that this year, Hamas, a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist militant organization, solicited for donations from supporters over social media via bitcoin and each of the two addresses is said to have received $5,000 each at least. While this might not seem like a great amount, the typical terrorist transaction has been seen to be around $600 and while terrorism is not necessarily expensive to execute per incident, the human cost is very high.
On the topic of fintech firms, Mandelker stated that while it must be acknowledged that cryptocurrency is a complex industry that requires a lot of expertise, a system must be put in place that will curb illicit activities and that now is the time for such expertise to be put to work.
“Absent appropriate safeguards to keep our nations and our communities safe from terrorists, rogue regimes, and others who threaten us, the U.S. will work with governments around the world to make sure that non-compliant networks and fintechs do not survive,” she said.