American authorities had revealed cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin as a funding mechanism for the ongoing trend for smuggling the drug fentanyl.
In an advisory published in this years August, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network highlighted the use of “convertible virtual currency” in facilitating the black market.
FinCEN says that the US is “in the midst of an unparalleled epidemic of addiction and death” from fentanyl, an opioid used to prevent pain and also as an anesthetic.
Specifically, it claims, payments occur using Bitcoin $10135.2 +0.20%, Bitcoin Cash $10285.1 +0.07%, Ethereum $181.510 -0.07% and Monero $73.8886 -0.22%.
Also named were purchases “using money services businesses…, bank transfers or online payment processors,” both the us and foreign.
The advisory further referenced “other, more general money laundering mechanisms” without saying anything specific about it.
The vague language of the advisory likewise gave no hint of the amount of funds involved for either cryptocurrency.
Nevertheless, mainstream media titles seized on the warning as proof that the Trump administration through FinCEN was looking to crack down on cryptocurrency once again.
As Bitcoinist reported, Trump himself had delivered tough comments on Cryptocurrencies in July, claiming all of them were “based on thin air.” The comments had only a temporary impact on markets.
Bitcoin A Friend To Law Enforcement
FinCEN meanwhile said crypto’s use in darknet markets to produce/buy fentanyl, specifically via AlphaBay.
“The Darknet is commonly used for a number of illicit activities, including fentanyl trafficking”
Beyond fentanyl, the role of cryptocurrencies such as BTC worldwide in illicit activities remains a topic of constant discussion. Despite many warnings from the authorities, independent studies often find that cash and other options remain criminals medium of choice for transcations.
Bitcoin’s (in)traceability makes it suboptimal as an “anonymous” payment method, with even US authorities saying it would be helpful to them if its use continued.
Lilia Infante said:
“The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people. I actually want them to keep using [crypto]”