Steven Mnuchin, a secretary of the US Treasury Department, made a statement announcing that the Treasury Department was carrying out investigations pertaining to the illegal uses of various cryptocurrencies, in particular, the bitcoin.
The purpose of the Treasuries investigation was to ensure that the bitcoin was not used for illegal activities. Which it is of course, but we will get to that in a little bit.
During an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this month, Mnuchin stated that the Treasury is doing all that it can to make sure that bitcoins are not used in the dark web and that they are not financing its activities. Which is a reasonable concern by all means.
What is the Dark Web slash Net?
Essentially, the dark web is any site that requires the use of a special protocol or software like Tor browser to access it.
Darknet websites have a few things in common, but for the most part, they aren’t indexed by Google, meaning that you can’t find them by googling.
Everything that happens on the dark web is untraceable and completely anonymous. However, there are ways through which darknet users have been busted before. Check out the Silk Road scandal.
Why do you need Tor browser and what does it do? The Tor browser system allows websites to hide their identities by means employing a complicated protocol. The Tor network is upheld by a network of computers around the globe that communicate with each other each time there is any activity through the browser.
So, for example – you connect to a darknet website through Tor browser, the network then continuously re-routes your connection and IP address by random and unpredictable means, pretty much giving you an invisibility cloak like in Harry Potter, but only a digital one.
Additionally, websites that are made via Tor can only be accessed via Tor, good luck trying to get on them with Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.
But what can you buy on the dark web? Guns, grenades, drugs like LSD, Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, fake fiats, untraceable phones, passports, hacked Facebook and Gmail accounts, and much, much more.
You should be able to clearly understand why the US Treasury Department cares about this.
Oh, by the way, the dark web shouldn’t be confused with the deep web. These are two different things; deep web content is just not indexed by search engines. For example, an unlisted YouTube video can be considered part of the deep web.
What are agencies doing about bitcoins use on the dark web?
The Treasury Department declared its plan to carry out an audit assessing some of the practices carried out by the USA Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The treasuries goal is to see how the FinCEN operates, prioritizes, and identifies global cryptocurrency money laundering operations.
Mnuchin also stated that virtual currency dealers and exchanges must fulfill KYC requirements as well as the Bank Secrecy Act in order to combat money laundering and illegal activities going on within the United States.
With the main focus being money laundering.
“So, if you’re a Bitcoin dealer in the United States, you have the…customer requirements and BSA requirements. And those are issues I’m discussing with all my international counterparts. So, our number one issue is, we wanna make sure that this is not used for illicit transfers of funds.”
Sure, I think that a lot of good work can be done in order to push back illegal bitcoin activities on the darknet. But is it possible to completely rid the world of these activities entirely? I certainly don’t think so.
Let’s wait and see.