US security officials know where unlicensed crypto businesses hide

It’s difficult to hide from the government, even for those who believe that cryptocurrency facilitates anonymity and virtual cloaking devices. Several examples of how government entities have been able to easily track the crypto breadcrumbs have already been given, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acknowledges that it is more than capable of seeing what some may have thought was hidden activity. The government agency has a team dedicated to the crypto underground, ensuring that it can help uncover illicit activity and hold individuals accountable when they break the law.

The DHS has a dedicated Cryptocurrency Intelligence Program (CIP), designed solely to scour the Internet for any signs of shady operations. The agency explains in a publication (in pdf) on its website that the CIP “identifies unlicensed money services businesses in the form of independent cryptocurrency brokers’ use of peer-to-peer (P2P) sites, online forums and classified advertisements, and darknet markets (DNM) to engage in unlicensed money services businesses (MSB) activity. A large portion of these unlicensed MSBs are engaged in laundering narcotics proceeds, including opioid trafficking.”

Initially, when crypto first started making its way into the world, it was extremely difficult for agencies like the DHS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to uncover shady activity and who was behind it. However, with technology advances being what they are, it’s becoming easier than ever as more data is collected. Inevitably, some type of virtual fingerprint is left that makes following the trail and unraveling the mystery much simpler.

The CIP is part of the Bulk Cash Smuggling Center (BCSC), which has been operating since 2009 to uncover money-laundering and other illicit activity in the fiat space. It now includes crypto among its list of responsibilities, and this helps facilitate the sharing of intelligence to provide a clearer picture of who is doing what, and where.

The crypto space, as a whole, is going to be a huge benefactor of the CIP and similar programs. As they help to weed out the criminals who falsely believe they’re safe from authorities, the Bitcoin ecosystem will continue to mature and help it to become more accepted around the world. This will ultimately lead to digital currency achieving its rightful place as the next step in the evolutionary step in the development of money.

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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