It was 16 years ago today that America saw one of it's most horrific terrorists attacks at the WTC towers where many innocent people lost their lives. Since then, there have been many more terrorist attacks across the globe and despite all our nations efforts it persists. Terrorism is here to stay. It has always been with us in fact. Perhaps called something else in a different time or different circumstances, but humans have always terrorized other humans since the dawn of time. I thought today would be a good time to reflect on the tragedy, but to also contemplate the perceived ties that cryptocurrency has to terrorists & hackers.
Regardless, that does not mean we stop fighting or resisting true evil. Unfortunately, governments, politicians, and corporations have also used our fear of terrorism to push their own agendas. Even Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been in the news with headlines like "Bitcoin for Bombs" and "Will A New Generation of Terrorists Turn to Bitcoin?", even prompting research into such topics by the US Congress according to Coindesk.
Is Bitcoin Actually Used By Terrorists?
The short answer is NO.
I have had people literally tell me "Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme and only terrorists & hackers use it." Of course I try not to laugh uncontrollable, but I also try to patiently educate as well. We will get to the hackers in a minute (as they really belong to a whole other class of criminal), but why would a terrorist even use Bitcoin or crypto?
Cash Is King
Using physical money is MUCH more anonymous & harder to track then Bitcoin (and most other cryptocurrencies). Some terrorists networks even have their own minted gold coins they use, and with wide networks of exchange for illegal terrorists activities already set in place using physical money Bitcoin becomes irrelevant. The network for United States Dollar funded terrorism is far greater then that of Bitcoin and harder to track as well. With Bitcoin you typically need to be on a KYC (Know Your Customer) or AML regulated exchange and transactions are actually EASIER to track on the Bitcoin blockchain (which is public) then transactions through traditional avenues like a bank account.
A Growing Threat?
Law enforcement and other government agencies will have you think that cryptocurrency is a growing threat in the fight against terrorism funding. Unfortunately there just isn't enough evidence to support this. Could it be in the future? Of course it could... but the blockchain and cryptocurrency are a threat to just about every human system we know. This is the actual problem. This new form of transaction is so much better then anything we were previously doing that it will overtake and infiltrate every industry. Is it terrorists that the government is worried about, or is it the fact that humans are transacting wealth without governments hand in to get their share and regulate it in their favor?
But Hackers DO Use It!!
They sure do! It has been a problem you have seen in the news lately and of course there was that WannaCry virus that held peoples data for ransom in Bitcoin. The truth is that us, digital currency is perfect for the hacker class, but if it was not digital it would still be something else. Hackers were breaking into computer systems and demanding ransom long before Bitcoin was around. There have been a handful of cases where hackers have demanded Bitcoin as payment, but thanks to the news the average Joe thinks that is all they are being used for. Of course this could not be further from the truth and really millions of average people just like you and I trade & transact in cryptocurrency every day.
The fact is that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is not just for terrorists and hackers, but really made for the average Joe to achieve their financial independence. Could terrorists and hackers also take advantage of this system like they have all the other systems we build? Of course they could, but that does not mean we should abandon or unnecessarily regulate cryptocurrencies in fear of what they might do in the "wrong hands".
Fighting The Good Fight For 'Stache's Everywhere