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    January 18, 2018

    A new US bill offers rewards for information on cryptocurrency-supported terrorism

    US Senate votes on bill on cryptocurrency-supported Terrorism

    A new US bill would introduce an Independent Financial Technology Task Force that could offer rewards for information on cryptocurrency-supported terrorism.

    Late last year, new legislation put before the US Senate would effectively criminalize the non-disclosure of cryptocurrency portfolios; and now, a new bill placed before US Congress could be the first piece of legislation that would offer rewards to information yielding convictions of cryptocurrency-supported terrorism.

    Read: The White House confirms it is ‘monitoring’ cryptocurrencies

    Introduced to Congress by representative Ted Budd of the House Financial Services Committee, the bill outlines a new task force that would be run by the Secretary of the Treasury and comprised of four private sector individuals and five federal directors.

    Specifically, the bill proposes the establishment of:

    “…an Independent Financial Technology Task Force, to provide rewards for information leading to convictions related to terrorist use of digital currencies, to establish a FinTech Leadership in Innovation Fund to encourage the development of tools and programs to combat terrorist and illicit use of digital currencies, and for other purposes.”

    It remains unclear as to whether rewards information that yielded convictions of cryptocurrency-supported terrorism would be paid in fiat currency or in cryptocurrency.  Given that the Federal Bureau of Investigation retains some 144,000 bitcoins from seizures during its operation against The Silk Road, the latter seems unlikely.

    FinTech Leadership in Innovation Fund

    The bill further outlines a new fund that would feasibly empower the development of new programs and methods that could detect digital currency use among terrorist groups.

    Specifically, the fund would provide grants to not only universities or companies, but further to non-government organizations or individuals who contribute to research on such tools.

    The bill requires, however, that the research and development of new detection tools would leverage existing global standards as established by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and that such measures would support existing laws and be available for use under open access.

    north korea cryptocurrency hackers

    Combatting terrorism

    Though the bill makes no overt references to any particular group leveraging cryptocurrency-sponsored terrorism, the proposed legislation comes just two months after a new report by the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) which revealed that North Korea has intensified its hacking attacks on cryptocurrency users and services by as much as 370% over the past year.

    KISA’s report specifically revealed that between January and September of 2017 alone, over 5,366 ransomware attacks targeting cryptocurrency-related entities have occurred that have been linked to North Korean operations.

    Targeting cryptocurrency-related operations – specifically those involving Bitcoin – provide North Korea with a form of lifeline considering the heavy imposition of international sanctions and mounting tension between itself, the United States, and China.

    US President Donald Trump officially authorized a new $700 billion USD military spending bill that mandates a new study into the blockchain in December last year.

    Specifically, that bill authorizes the Department of Defense to investigate  “potential offensive and defensive cyber applications of blockchain technology and other distributed database technologies”, and comes as part of the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT).

    The bill proposed “an assessment of efforts by foreign powers, extremist organizations, and criminal networks to utilize such technologies” as the blockchain, but would further include “an assessment of the use or planned use of such technologies by the Federal Government and critical infrastructure networks.”

    Read: Germany’s central bank pushes for global cryptocurrency regulation

    Have your say!

    How could new legislation empower the United States to combat cryptocurrency-funded terrorism? Are such measures necessary? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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