A United States Congressman has called for a holistic cryptocurrency probe based on the recent revelation that Bitcoin was used by Russian operatives who meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. This is the latest in a line of regulatory measures by the country’s Congress concerning the emerging cryptocurrency market.
Bitcoin Played a Role in the Russian Meddling of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections
One of the biggest pieces of news in the past week was the revelation that Bitcoin played a role in Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential elections. Robert Mueller, the special counsel for the investigation, indicted a dozen Russian hackers who used Bitcoin to finance their clandestine attempts to sabotage the race.
Cryptocurrencies continue to get a bad rap from many stakeholders in mainstream circles—from the government to even business. The consensus is that virtual currencies provide an avenue for criminals to perpetrate illegal activities due to the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions.
Democratic Congressman Calls for Federal Government Probe
Following this revelation, Democratic Congressman, Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver is asking the federal government to probe the cryptocurrency industry. Cleaver’s concerns are mainly in the area of the crypto’s viability in criminal activities. The Congressman recently called on the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) saying:
“It is my hope that the government will continue to take steps to better align the public’s interest in financial technologies with the public’s interest in limiting nefarious uses of these technologies.”
Cleaver acknowledged the immense potential inherent in cryptos and blockchain technology. However, he believes that it is essential to create a suitable regulatory framework that prevents the use of virtual currencies in carrying out financial crimes.
FinCEN Wants to Stamp Out Illicit Uses of Cryptocurrencies
FinCEN, for its part, has been making efforts to probe the emerging cryptocurrency asset class. Since the meteoric rise in virtual currency prices in late 2017, the market has become the focus of attention for many financial regulators in the country. Speaking in 2017, Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the Treasury, said that FinCEN was examining the cryptocurrency market to determine the money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with virtual coins.
There is no word yet on the progress made by FinCEN on the matter. Testifying before the House Financial Services Committee in June 2018, a top FinCEN official revealed that the body was still carrying out its investigations.
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