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US agencies coming around cautiously to seeing benefits in virtual currencies

John Ribeiro | Nov. 20, 2013
Virtual currencies are still associated by law enforcement agencies largely with illicit activity.

Virtual currency is not necessarily synonymous with anonymity, and a convertible virtual currency with appropriate anti-money laundering and know-your-customer controls under U.S. law, can be as safe from exploitation by criminals and terrorists as any other money services business could, Raman said.

Carper has previously said that the government should evolve thoughtful policies rather than play 'whack-a-mole' with the latest website,  currency, or other method criminals are using This approach translates into challenges for law enforcement as well. Hiring, developing, and retaining skilled criminal investigators that are required to investigate crimes involving digital currencies and transnational organized criminal groups is a high priority for the Secret Service, but is challenging in the present fiscal environment, said Edward Lowery III, special agent in the Secret Service.

Some agencies have already taken measures to accept virtual currencies in some way. The U.S. Federal Election Commission, for example, recommended in an advisory this month that bitcoins can be accepted as in-kind campaign contributions, though disallowing disbursements through bitcoins from a bitcoin wallet.

 

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