Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are no longer just a technological novelty or a speculative bubble. They are affecting U.S. national security. To face their potential threat, Congress should organize an expert task force on virtual currencies and require the executive branch to formulate a national virtual currency strategy.
Recently, the national security implications of virtual currencies have come to the fore. Last month, President Trump prohibited use of the new Venezuelan virtual currency known as “el petro” aimed at evading U.S. sanctions. Then, a report revealed that Russia has advised Caracas on the currency, suggesting a concerted sanctions evasion scheme involving a primary U.S. competitor. During the same week, the city of Atlanta suffered a ransomware attack where the perpetrators took over the city’s computers and demanded a ransom in bitcoin.
These developments point to how concrete the threat of virtual currencies is. Yet, the U.S. government lacks a centralized source of knowledge on the threat or a whole-of-government strategy to counter it. Congress should lead on both.
Read the full article at The Hill
More from CNAS
CommentaryTrump’s Use of Sanctions Is Nothing Like Obama’s
Two and a half years into Donald Trump’s presidency, there is no doubt that economic sanctions are his administration’s foreign-policy weapon of choice. From China to Iran to ...
By Peter Harrell
CommentarySituation Report: U.S.-North Korea Negotiations to Resume This Weekend
After months of stalled talks, U.S. and North Korean representatives will meet this weekend to resume negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Just this week, ...
By Duyeon Kim, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Kristine Lee, Van Jackson & Neil Bhatiya
PodcastHong Kong Protests Update
Ashley Feng, Research Associate at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and Matt Schrader, China Analyst at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshal...
By Ashley Feng
CommentaryNorth Korea’s Sanctions-Busting Gets More Sophisticated—and More Lucrative
As a United Nations report revealed earlier this month, North Korea continues to dodge international sanctions and raise money for its nuclear weapons program, despite attempt...
By Neil Bhatiya