Faced with ransomware with demand for payments in Bitcoin, the use of crypto in other countries to resist US sanctions, the Biden administration is stepping up to the plate.
It is an official 37-page document with the title: . Published by the White House, it details the measures that the Biden administration intends to take to fight against various forms of corruption. Among the five pillars around which this strategy revolves, pillar n ° 3 “Bringing corrupt actors to account” specifically targets the cryptocurrency sector with two essential axes:
- the ;
- limit the possibilities of foreign nations to evade US sanctions.
The threat of ransomware
Two events particularly marked the year 2021, in terms of ransomware (). For the record, this type of attack consists of encrypting a company’s files and demanding a ransom to be paid in BTC (Bitcoin), this currency making it possible to maintain the anonymity of the recipient.
On May 7, a ransomware attack blocked the operation of the Colonial Pipeline, a8,900 kilometers long connecting Houston (Texas) to New York, supplying the majority of gasoline to the east coast of the United States. A week later, the Colonial company had to resolve to pay the equivalent of $ 5 million in “non-traceable cryptocurrency”, most likely in Bitcoin.
At the beginning of June, it was the company JBS, which processes 20% of American meat, which had to resolve to pay the equivalent of $ 11 million in BTC.
From the start of the summer, Congress took up the issue. A first task force was set up in order to officially fight against.
Financial sanctions that could lose their effectiveness
This is not all. One of the weapons commonly used by the United States to bend certain nations is thefinancial penalties. More than 9,000 sanctions of this type are currently in force, particularly vis-à-vis countries such as North Korea and Iran.
Since September 2021, theadopted Bitcoin as their national currency. Costa Rica, Laos, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Jamaica, Peru and others are seriously considering doing the same.
A report released in October by the Biden administration found thatrepresented a risk to its sanctions system. ” These technologies provide opportunities for malicious actors to hold and transfer funds outside of the dollar-based financial system. They give our adversaries the means to build payment systems aimed at diminishing the global role of the dollar. »
A “task force” dedicated to cryptocurrencies
A task force (task force) was established at the Ministry of Justice, the National Cryptocurrency Encorcement Team as a goal ” to investigate this complex area and to be able to pursue».
In fact, the Biden administration has already shown surprising efficiency in its fight against cryptocurrency deviance. Thus, in June 2021, the Department of Justice was able to announce that the FBI had succeeded in recovering 63.7 of the 75 bitcoins that had been disbursed to those responsible for the ransomware of the Colonial Pipeline. Western in perspective, then!