Bitcoin has been identified as a technology in a recent counterterrorism program as a threat to national security.
The initiative is being run by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), a division of the Department of Defense which investigates threats of irregular warfare and develops counterterrorism capabilities. It has asked vendors to identify and submit ideas of state-of-the-art technologies of interest. The deadline was this past Friday. Bitcoin was named as one such technology.
In a January memo, the CTTSO detailed solicitations for its projects and stated one of the mission requirements to find “innovative…solutions to develop and/or enhance new concepts and constructs for understanding the role of virtual currencies” in financing terror in the United States. On the effectiveness of Bitcoin, it said:
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“The introduction of virtual currency will likely shape threat finance by increasing the opaqueness, transactional velocity, and overall efficiencies of terrorist attacks”
In March, the Treasury Department reported that if did not find “widespread” use of virtual currencies to finance terrorism.
Apparently though, Bitcoin isn’t opaque enough to effectively finance terrorism and other crimes according to the makers of the Dark Wallet extension. Their recently launched app adds additional layers of privacy to transactions made on the publicly-viewable blockchain.
One of its founders said, “I want a private means for black market transactions, whether they’re for non-prescribed medical inhalers, MDMA for drug enthusiasts, or weapons.” Essentially, “it’s just money laundering software.” Even though such technology can facilitate child pornography, murder-for-hire and terrorism, he says, “Well, yes, bad things are going to happen on these marketplaces…..Liberty is a dangerous thing.”