By Brian Miller and Chris Cooke
Breakthrough technology can power progress just as easily as it can buoy bad actors. Cryptocurrency is no exception.
As the October 2020 report from the attorney general's Cyber-Digital Task Force put it, "distributed ledger technology, upon which all cryptocurrencies build, raises breathtaking possibilities for human flourishing."
These possibilities should be celebrated. The difficulty from a law enforcement perspective, however, is anonymity.
In short, cryptocurrency offers a variety of tools for shielding the identity of its users. This can prevent law enforcement from determining who holds stolen funds.
That problem is exacerbated, in part, by entities within the current crypto ecosystem that have yet to establish Bank Secrecy Act protocols, or that may not yet be required to do so.
This potentially impedes oversight of pandemic relief funds and raises serious questions about whether taxpayer dollars are making their way to bad actors overseas.
We therefore write to highlight that the conversion of pandemic relief funds to cryptocurrency raises a red flag, and to encourage partnership between law enforcement and crypto-involved companies.