The US State Department has launched a new initiative to pay anonymous informants in cryptocurrency for information on enemy state-backed hackers or suspected terrorists, according to CNN.
The agency, for the first time, via its "Rewards for Justice" (RFJ) program, will be paying informants cryptocurrency on a secure portal on the Dark Web for information about enemy state-backed hackers involved in attacking US infrastructure or businesses and or terrorists who want to harm other American interests.
On RFJ's website, the State Department is offering "rewards of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, participates in malicious cyber activities against US critical infrastructure." Informants who provide credible information will remain anonymous and elect to receive compensation in the form of crypto assets.
Here's RFJ's website.
RFJ's submit a tip section.
The RFJ platform can be accessed using Tor, one of the most common browsers for the Dark Web that protects a user's privacy. Officials told CNN they have begun receiving tips.
"Within our program, there's a tremendous amount of enthusiasm because we're really pushing the envelope every chance we get to try and reach audiences, sources, people who may have information that helps improve our national security," a State Department source told CNN. "It's been edgy for some government agencies, perhaps, but we're going to keep pushing forward in many different ways."
The source declined to elaborate on the tips already received through the Dark Web due to the sensitive nature of the information and sources.
"Something on the Dark Web that allows total anonymity and an initial level of security is probably more appropriate for those folks," a second State Department source said. "So just finding people where they are and reaching them with the technology on which they are most comfortable, I think, is the name of the game for Rewards for Justice."
Bill Evanina, CEO of The Evanina Group, who recently retired as Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center at the FBI and CIA, said this initiative is the federal government's most public use of crypto assets so far.
Contrary to the State Department's use-case, Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said Tuesday at an event in Montana that crypto is trash and hasn't "seen any use case that Bitcoin solves other than funding illicit activities like drugs and prostitution."
Kashkari's poisonous remarks about crypto are more of the same from the central banker who also said crypto "is 95% fraud, hype, noise, and confusion."
While the State Department is using crypto and the dark web to catch bad guys, Kashkari is living in an alternate reality and should realize that real uses of crypto are already observed in parts of the federal government.
But again, Kashkari has to defend the dollar, so naturally, any alternative form of payment he is against.