Crypto-currencies like bitcoin that facilitate anonymous, untraceable online financial transactions will have to be regulated to stop terrorists, drug dealers and online criminal gangs taking advantage of them, a top Justice Department official said.
‘Just as we did with currency … we put in different regulations and reporting requirements that made it harder for those who would do bad things to take advantage of our financial system,’ said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, referring to anti-money laundering rules and other measures aimed at blocking criminals’ use of cash and banks.
‘So, as we move toward some of these new currencies we will need to take similar steps [with them],’ he said.
Carlin heads the National Security Division of DOJ, created in 2006 and the first new component of the department in 50 years. He spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Tuesday.
Carlin said the growth of digital currencies ‘complicated’ the job of law enforcement — a typical piece of understatement from the mild mannered prosecutor.
In fact, whole categories of cybercrime, like ransomware, are made possible only by the existence of anonymous internet money like bitcoin.