U.S. Department Of Justice Reveals Growing Bitcoin And Crypto National Security Threat Could Herald ‘Oncoming Storm’

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency use by terrorists, rogue nations and other criminals has grown in recent years—with high-profile attacks drawing international attention.

The illicit use of bitcoin and cryptocurrency ranges from money laundering and tax evasion to extortion, with cyber criminals increasingly demanding bitcoin and crypto payments in ransomware attacks on computer systems.

Now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has warned the emergence of bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies is a growing threat to U.S. national security, with the attorney general William Barr’s Cyber-Digital Task Force calling it the “first raindrops of an oncoming storm.”

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“Current terrorist use of cryptocurrency may represent the first raindrops of an oncoming storm of expanded use,” the Cyber-Digital Task Force said in a report that found bitcoin and cryptocurrencies pose an emerging challenge to law enforcement activities. “Cryptocurrency also provides bad actors and rogue nation states with the means to earn profits.”

The DOJ report, titled Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework and published by the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force last week, found bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been used to support terrorism, purchase illicit items, conduct blackmail and extortion, cryptojacking and launder funds.

Investigators also said bitcoin and cryptocurrencies could be “detrimental to the safety and stability of the international financial system.”

The response of U.S. and international law enforcement has been held back by inconsistent regulation country-to-country. The DOJ has spent the last two years determining how best to address these issues, according to the document that “outlines the Department’s response strategies.”

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Perfect storm of change demands innovative and agile response

Financial services is facing a perfect storm of change. The combination of advanced digital technologies, regulatory reform, mounting consumer expectation and rising competition from both incumbents and disruptors is accelerating change across the financial services landscape.

To succeed, both established and challenger brands need to identify risks and opportunities and be able to respond in a nimble and agile fashion.

According to McKinsey & Co, in a post-pandemic world; “Businesses that once mapped digital strategy in one- to three-year phases must now scale their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks.”

Andrew Todd, chief technology officer of financial software firm Iress, does not believe that daily shifts will be required in financial services – but he does expect that speed and agility will be the secret to sustained success.

According to Todd; “History is composed of ‘black swan’ events, events that were never seen before and never predicted to happen. Yet, they occur with regularity and there is continuous volatility. With each ‘unprecedented’ event, a wave of innovation follows as economies and businesses rush to both take advantage of opportunities following the event, or to provide protection in case it happens again. 

“What is clearly missed in these examples by many – but not all – is that there’s an opportunity to build a business of resilience, one that benefits in times of upheaval. 

“Building a culture of real innovation, self-testing and resilience can help move from an outcome of needing to respond to leveraging a black-swan type event.” 

This, he says; “Takes critical thinking in relation to strategy, competition, courage and a willingness to be different. To not rest on past successes. To not be busy. It takes strong, bold leadership. It requires more than words – it requires investment in time and money and not following the