US Treasury official admits terrorists still mostly rely on cash, not crypto

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US Treasury official admits terrorists still mostly rely on cash, not crypto

At a recent conference, a U.S. Treasury official spoke about the dangers of Bitcoin being used by terrorists. Ironically, she inadvertently countered her own argument, admitting that most acts of terrorism are funded by cash, not crypto.

U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker does not like Bitcoin one bit. Her continued rhetoric has virtually insinuated that the crypto industry is fuelling terrorism.

In a speech delivered to the Annual International Conference on Counterterrorism earlier this week, she made reference to the 9/11 anniversary while remarking about a new global threat.

The government’s concern, according to Mandelker, is that cryptocurrencies are being used to fund terrorist organizations and activities.

She added that unless appropriate legislation is implemented to regulate crypto exchanges and trading platform, terrorists could fund their activities through digital means and go completely unnoticed.

“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,” she said.

At least there is acknowledgement that most of the nefarious activity in the world is carried out in cold hard cash, and it is also highly likely that the currency of choice is the greenback.

U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker
U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker (CSPAN)

Innovation paralyzed by fearmongering

Fearing a pivot to crypto, Mandelker wants to see more regulation in one of the world’s most regulated nations.

The American crypto industry has been stifled in comparison to what has been developing in Asia simply due to the lack of direction and decision making from regulatory bodies.

Exchanges worldwide are rejecting US traders due to this draconian level of regulation.

While it may be true that rogue nations such as North Korea have been hacking crypto exchanges to amass digital wealth to further their weapons programs, it is a drop in the ocean compared to traditional methods of financing.

Bigger threats than crypto

Banks are an even bigger player in dodgy dealings, so much so that in the past decade they have been fined over $300 billion globally, which is more than the entire market capitalization of all crypto assets today.

But there was no mention of stricter regulations on the banking industry by the U.S. Treasury which clearly has its own interests in mind with that one.

Additionally, social media giants such as Facebook are a larger threat as they have a greater influence in radicalization and the dissemination of extremism.

Yet that U.S. tech behemoth, in particular, is allowed to continue virtually unchecked and crypto is still public enemy number one in the eyes of the Treasury.

There has been enough research to suggest these fears are blown out of proportion.

Studies by the RAND Corporation and a number of crypto advocacy groups have revealed that such terrorist groups rarely have the technological means to benefit from large scale cryptocurrency financing.

As usual, the Ministry of Fear is looking for its next enemy and in the U.S., at least, it is still cryptocurrency.