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American Lawmakers Wants to Use Blockchain to Fight Crime

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The United States Congress is launching an inquiry into the potential of leveraging blockchain technology in its bid to ensure that financial crime is curbed. 

On September 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act,” a bill which requires Kenneth Blanco, the Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), to launch a study into how emerging technologies, such as blockchain, can be used within the agency to fight financial crimes. 

In part, the bill reads,

“The Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) shall carry out a study on […] whether A.I., digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies can be further leveraged to make FinCEN’s data analysis more efficient and effective.”

As expected, the bill has already been sent to Capitol Hill, as the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs confirmed that it received it on Monday.

Blanco urges casino to play ball

Blanco himself has been rather particular about keeping financial crimes within the United States to a minimum. Earlier this year, the FinCEN director encouraged casinos to abide by new guidelines on dealing with any suspicious activities conducted with “convertible virtual currencies (CVCs).”

In the guidelines, he pointed out that casinos who deal with cryptocurrency payments should draw out proper standards for dealing with CVC transactions. 

He added, “Casinos should be filing SARs when they encounter suspicious CVC activity and any cyber events that affect, facilitate, or conduct transactions. We know that casinos are targets for cyber and cyber-enabled criminal activity such as ransomware attacks and business e-mail compromise schemes.”

Blockchain is fast becoming a tool for fighting crime

While the results of his study remain to be seen, this ringing endorsement is, at the very least, a great development in the prospect of blockchain technology getting attention from the power players in Washington. Back in July, the United States Army Contracting Command (ACC) of New Jersey posted a pre-solicitation notice, asking for companies which can help use blockchain to help optimize investigations into cryptocurrency crimes. 

According to the release, the solutions developed will be used by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (USACIDC) for use in advanced investigations and other associated efforts. The ideal contractor should be able to develop an online, cloud-based investigation and tracking service, which law enforcement officials will now be able to use in apprehending people who conduct illicit activities with cryptocurrencies with the aim of concealing their tracks. 

The service should also not be reliant on hardware or software, and it should be able to provide concrete proof of a suspect’s involvement in illicit crypto activities (such as transaction records, personal details, and much more). It should also be able to provide analyses on Bitcoin and a few altcoins.  

In addition to that, research and analytics giant Diar revealed in 2018 that government agencies have made a threefold increased in investments into blockchain intelligence.

The company outlined that these agencies have already shelled out $5.7 million in blockchain analytics investments, adding that this could eventually help bolster their criminal investigation efforts.

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