The Trump White House Administration has continued its relentless attacks on cryptocurrencies and the crypto sector. Now, the latest in its stream of attacks is a revelation that crypto assets are used in the purchase of illegal drugs.
Yesterday, the White House published two advisory documents in which is showed references to the crypto assets being used in purchasing illegal drugs. The advisories were addressed to various institutions operating within the United States financial industry, including but not limited to digital payment platforms.
Amongst other things, it was revealed that after analyzing financial data and drug purchase processes,, researchers had been able to find that both manufacturers and customers of illegal drugs have employed online payment platforms to purchase pure and synthesized narcotics, adding that their primary point of purchase has been China.
In the context of the document, the White House described the role of CVCs (convertible digital currencies) such as Bitcoin, Ether, Monero, and Bitcoin Cash in purchasing drugs.
In part, the report read, “Similar to purchases from a foreign source of supply using MSBs or online payment processors, individuals located in the United States search for fentanyl and identify potential websites that may provide the opportunity to purchase illicit drugs online. Foreign representatives will instruct the U.S.-based individual to send payments through CVC, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Bash, Ethereum, or Monero.”
The advisories showed that transactions on CVCs could provide significant information that could be used in prosecuting illegal drug pushers. The information highlighted includes “virtual currency wallet addresses, account information, transaction details (including […] hash), relevant transaction history, available login information (including IP addresses), information obtained from the analysis of the customer’s public online profile and communications, mobile device information.”
As such, financial institutions are advised to collect these important details in any suspicious cases.
While many will see this as another attempt by the Trump administration to paint crypto assets as black and convince people not to buy cryptocurrency (and don’t make any mistake, it is just that), it could also prove to be pointed to what type of cryptocurrency regulations we will see in the future.
Back in July, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke about the prospect of crypto regulations in an interview with news medium CNBC, adding that the current administration will pursue a “very, very strong” enforcement of financial regulations in a bid to prevent bad actors from funding criminal activities with crypto assets.
He said, “We’re going to make sure that Bitcoin doesn’t become the equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts, which were obviously a risk to the financial system.”
If anything, ordering financial institutions is just the government keeping its word that regulations are coming.
However, it is worth noting that these regulations might not be effective. Bitcoin has been used for illegal activities since the crypto market gained mainstream attention, and while there have been significant developments made to stop this, the criminal application of the world’s most popular asset has continued to thrive; just like Bitcoin trading and other activities involving the asset.
Criminals know how to keep their information from getting into the hands of authorities, so if the government is sure about its mission to stop illegal Bitcoin use, this isn’t particularly a strong first step.