Cryptocurrencies Are Used To Buy Illicit Drugs, Warns White House

Cryptos, bad; crypto-users, "drug-using terrorists"; USDollar, good; USDollar-users, patriots.

That appears to be the message in a new statement from The White House on the links between America's opioid epidemic and cryptocurrencies.

As CoinTelegraph's Liam Frost reports, on Aug. 21, the White House issued two advisories regarding illicit drug purchases in the United States that contain references to the specific cryptocurrencies allegedly used as a part of this process.

image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

The advisories were addressed to various financial institutions as well as digital payments platforms. The documents state:

“An analysis of sensitive financial data indicates that domestic illicit drug manufacturers, dealers, and consumers use online payment platforms or CVC to purchase precursor chemicals or completely synthesized narcotics primarily sourced from China.”

White House: crypto used to pay for foreign drugs

In the context of the documents CVC refers to “convertible virtual currencies,” particularly Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Monero (XMR). The drug fentanyl is also noted specifically in the advisories:

“Similar to purchases from a foreign source of supply using MSBs or online payment processors, individuals located in the United States search for fentanyl and identify potential websites that may provide the opportunity to purchase illicit drugs online. Foreign representatives will instruct the U.S.-based individual to send payments through CVC, such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, or monero.”

Financial institutions are advised to collect crypto data

The advisories also note that “CVC transactions generate a significant variety of information elements that may be extremely useful to law enforcement.” 

Therefore, financial institutions are recommended to collect these details in case of any suspicion, including “virtual currency wallet addresses, account information, transaction details (including [...] hash), relevant transaction history, available login information (including IP addresses), information obtained from analysis of the customer’s public online profile and communications, mobile device information,” etc.

As Cointelegraph reported last month, U.S. Department of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that the authority will be preventing Bitcoin from becoming an “equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts.”

Previously, Mnuchin also stated that he shares President Donald Trump’s concerns on the use of cryptocurrency to finance illicit activity.

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While the clear angle of The White House fearmongering, scapegoating, finger-pointing statement is to ensure cryptos are de-anonymized and painted as traitorous, one wonders what all those drug-hungry 'terrorists' did before cryptos? We ask because we know - since TreasurySec Mnuchin told us - that the US Dollar is NOT used ever for nefarious transactions...!

Everything that Mnuchin attributed to Bitcoin - for one thing, that it has been used in concert with such “illicit activity [as] cyber crime, tax evasion, extortion... illicit drugs, and human trafficking" - can be said, and to degrees an order of magnitude or more larger, about the U.S. dollar. It’s an argument suitable for children.

Mnuchin would be well advised to leave market forces to work in their inexorable march toward increasingly sound, more functional iterations of cryptocurrencies and other decentralized digital assets, and to shift his attention toward the countless political factors that are eradicating the last vestiges of faith and credit in the dollar. If the current path is maintained (and quite possibly even if it isn’t), the future belongs to truly “dependable and reliable” monetary media: cryptocurrencies and precious metals. 

The sudden panic, following Libra's white paper release, among establishment types is interesting. Amid clear dollar liquidity shortages and cornered central banks around the world, is this starting to set the stage for the next mega-crisis and the end of the dollar?