Bitcoin officials worked with the U.S. government to inform them how virtual currencies work.
Bitcoin investors claim there is nothing shady about the virtual currency, but many people believe a currency without physical form can be manipulated in new and frightening ways.
The U.S. military feels the same way.
In Tampa last week, officials from the U.S. Special Operations Command met with the global policy counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation as well as dozens of others in positions of authority related to bitcoins to discuss how to monitor the possible use of bitcoins by terrorist groups.
The focus of the meeting was to help the U.S. military determine how groups like ISIL are being capitalized, and to find ways to interrupt the flow of funds to groups of that nature. However, there were reports out of the meeting that the U.S. government has no information regarding the current use of bitcoin to fund ISIL.
According to CNBC, the event was organized by a secretive national organization called Business Executives for National Security, which felt it wise to update the U.S. military on the current state of bitcoin usage and transparency (or lack thereof).
“The bitcoin community does not necessary endorse U.S. foreign policy, and the bitcoin community does not necessary endorse everything the U.S. intelligence community does,’’ said Jim Harper, global policy counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation. “On the things that the bitcoin community agrees with (the U.S.), I think there is willingness to work together. It is unserious to think that you shouldn’t familiarize law enforcement and the military with bitcoin.”
The key question of the conference was whether the U.S. military can trace bitcoin usage, and the answer is currently “No.”
But the bitcoin advocates in the meeting tried to explain that the current state of bitcoin transactions are completely transparent and a ledger is available to show all transactions, although the identity of those conducting the transactions are not public information. They suggested the U.S. government must familiarize itself with other forms of virtual currency, like Darkcoin.
The FBI has already conducted several operations to close down drug-trafficking businesses conducting all financial transactions through virtual currency. The former chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation was arrested in January on charges of money-laundering through bitcoins.
One attendee who asked not to be identified told CNBC the topic of virtual currencies is “very dangerous stuff. We were brought in to work on ways to meet the challenge.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.