Faced with cryptocurrencies that are quietly installed, will intelligence have to worry and react? [Par Mehdi Hijaouy]

Cryptocurrencies are transforming the planet of finance and establishing themselves there peacefully. It is massively, in dizzying volumes, that they circulate through cyberspace. Also called cryptocurrencies, crypto currencies, or more commonly called crypto assets, they are available for purchase and sale, through an entire ecosystem that offers considerable possibilities.

Except that the most popular and profitable for mining, the value of which is considered significant, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Thus, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple, Dash or even Litecoin (LTC).

Between effervescence and planetary alteration

In 2021, the levels of crypto assets had literally skyrocketed, without skimping on any of the 5 continents. Part of the savers of different nationalities will have yielded to the most attractive promises of profits, while the insidious thing was there: the creation of these currencies with the aim of allowing certain states to finance special operations, both opaque and enigmatic, at different levels. , both national and international.

But now, at the beginning of 2022, the global economic dynamics are in bad shape and the forecasts do not bode well. A pandemic with no end in sight, enormous supply chain difficulties, proven runaway inflation, an acute energy crisis, central banks forced to constantly modify their monetary policies, so many factors, which combined, weaken global economies and naturally impact in the international cryptocurrency market.

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Bought and sold on trading platforms (a kind of virtual stock exchanges), and held in dedicated wallets, wallets, and cryptocurrencies, they are, unlike traditional currencies, very real, just digital proof of ownership stored across a chain. blocks, despite the regulation of these virtual. currencies by certain countries, through their central banks and the enactment of specific regulations, classifying them as an alternative instrument to conventional money. Which does not escape China, eager to implement this, to oppose the influence of the US dollar, in all its forms.

Thus, the barometer of the prestigious auditing and consulting firm Ernst & Young indicates that “more than half of the banks in Switzerland plan to launch an investment offer in cryptocurrencies in the next 3 years”, and this despite the fact that “ significant uncertainties remain. , particularly in the field of regulation since the publication of the consultation document of the Basel Committee on banking supervision in June 2021”.

Cryptocurrencies in Morocco, to come?

As inappropriate as it was not so long ago, the issue of digital and legal currencies is increasingly challenging central banks, especially since the Bank for International Settlements encourages them to issue cryptocurrencies which it designates as “Central Bank Crypto Currency” or even ‘ ‘Central Bank Digital Currency’.

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So what about our country? What policy for what future? Let us recall the position of the Al Maghrib Bank, some time ago, and its categorical refusal to authorize the use of these forms of currencies. And let’s see the recent departure of the current Minister of Economy and Finance, arrested after the massive use of cryptocurrencies by citizens, use that is clearly prohibited by current regulations. He then declared that the Financial Action Task Force was sensitizing States not to use this type of currency, referring to one of its publications, a study on the due diligence measures that countries must implement to agree with the recommendations. issued.

And it is against this that the Minister addressed himself during the oral question session in the House of Representatives by evoking the possible convenience of establishing a legal framework regarding the use of these currencies. That is what is said and that led his Ministry and the Central Bank -Bank Al Maghrib- to come together to study the opportunity to integrate these currencies, through their advantages and disadvantages.

A team that does not include essential, strategic national actors, among others the Intelligence Services, and that would have been right: its undeniable abilities to bring to the building under construction the brick ‘assessment of security risks related to the field’, a area most exposed to cybercrime and that goes far beyond purely financial, monetary and banking aspects.

Cybercurrencies, vulnerability and security intelligence

Increasingly converted into a currency traded during cyberattacks, currency of the most coveted by terrorist organizations, including jihadists linked to Daesh, Al-Qaeda, the pseudo Rasd, bitcoin continues to alert the most rehearsed intelligence agencies. The MOSSAD hires cryptocurrency experts, the CIA works tirelessly on projects dedicated to virtual currencies, the GUOANBU supports China to control most of the operations and data centers of these currencies, France dedicates considerable resources to the DGSE, with a budget of 880 million euros, to support in the most efficient and operational conditions everything that, directly or indirectly, is related to cybernetics and the field of information….

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All this teaches us, in the end, that these areas have become the sovereign spheres of the Powerful Intelligence Services. In this perspective, Security Intelligence is necessarily and more than significantly interested in virtual and digital currencies. He invites “agile” countries to be extremely vigilant about the enormous risks associated with the introduction of this form of currency, while encouraging their Intelligence Services to get deeply involved in countering their risks, knowing that the cryptocurrency generated $14 thousand million in fraud in 2021. Such a record can only question and reinforce the security approach.

what du african continent

Africa is pointed out, according to recent studies, as one of the continents that resorts massively to the use of cryptocurrencies. In this way :

– Sub-Saharan Africa identified as the region that obtains a significant volume of cryptocurrencies, ahead of North America.

-Residents of many neighboring African countries do not hesitate to use these coins, even if their national laws prohibit them.

Such an observation unconditionally militates in favor of the creation of an African virtual currency. If this observation is also a suggestion, it should be taken seriously, precisely by the African Union, like the very serious European virtual currency project, launched some time ago by the European Central Bank, with the assistance of 19 Member States of the Zone Euro. . A project that would be entrusted to the Kingdom of Morocco to pilot it and thus give birth to a kind of digital African Dirham.

By Mehdi Hijaouy, expert in Security, Protection, Intelligence and Economic and Strategic Intelligence. Founder of the Center for Strategic Intelligence in Washington, Mehdi Hijaouy has an Executive MBA in “Strategy of Influence, Negotiation and Psychological Warfare” – École de Guerre Économique (EGE), Paris and an Executive MBA in “Risk Management, International Security and Cybersecurity ” – EGE, Paris.

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