January 09, 2018

Bitcoin can help terrorists secretly fund their deadly attacks

By Edoardo Saravalle and Elizabeth Rosenberg

One of the latest tools terrorists are using isn’t a new kind of bomb, gun, suicide vest or other device that can kill and maim. The tool is bitcoin, the virtual currency created and exchanged using a decentralized network of computers, without the involvement of government and banks.

Because bitcoin transactions can be completed anonymously, the virtual currency is an ideal way for criminals – including terrorists – to hide their financial transactions from government agencies and law enforcement.

Bitcoin can be sent anywhere, converted into cash, and deposited in banks. It’s as if cash was made invisible in one location, secretly taken to another location undetected, and then made visible again.

Terrorists can then use the cash they get from their converted bitcoin to buy weapons, clothes, food, pay rent and cover their other expenses.

As a high-tech money laundering device, bitcoin is a terrorist’s dream come true. But it’s a nightmare for financial regulators and for counterterrorism forces in our military, law enforcement and intelligence community trying to find and stop terrorists.

Read the full op-ed in Fox News.

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