While the US’s approach to cryptocurrencies seems to be rather sceptical and unwelcoming, its approach to policing them has taken a new step up, as was related in President Donald Trump’s recent budget speech.
The budget speech has outlined a desire to reconsolidate the Secret Service with the Treasury Department in order to enhance cyber and financial crime investigations. This has specifically mentioned cryptocurrencies as their advancement has led to more complex criminal organisations, according to the proposal.
Cryptocurrency crime, while not as large as many believe, has been cause for concern among many different governments and has been one of the reasons why these digital assets have been stymied in their move to be normalized and legitimized.
Those moves by the Trump administration may seem like a harsh coming down on cryptocurrencies as bringing in stricter controls around the undesirable uses of cryptocurrencies may allow their legitimate uses to be further highlighted.
Trump’s new control
The secret service’s history lends itself quite well to investigating and policing against new financial crimes as, established in 1865, the Secret Service was created as a department within Treasury charged with protecting the US. currency against counterfeiting risks.
Then, in 2002 the service was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security — a move Trump now wishes to reverse to try and keep up with advancing financial technology.
“Technological advancements in recent decades, such as cryptocurrencies and the increasing interconnectedness of the international financial marketplace, have resulted in more complex criminal organizations and revealed stronger links between financial and electronic crimes and the financing of terrorists and rogue state actors,” the budget reads.
More so, eyes in the secret service will also be on the funding of countries the US finds undesirable, such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. These countries have all been linked to cryptocurrencies in order to skirt US sanctions, which the secret service will try and curb.
“Cut off the flow of billions of dollars to Iran, disrupted networks that provided the brutal Syrian regime with access to oil and financing, and expanded sanctions to punish Russian aggression and corrupt Kremlin-linked oligarchs,” the budget added.
Chasing the bad actors
Just like there are controls on the US dollar to stop its use as a tool for terrorism and sanction skirting, so the controls being instituted by Trump’s budget should be seen as a good thing. The freedom of Bitcoin and other cryptos is one thing, but if total liberty is not somehow slowed, the digital asset will never be fully accepted or legitimized in the US.