In the face of ransomware with demand for payments in Bitcoin, the use of crypto in other countries to resist US sanctions, the Biden administration is taking action.
It is an official document of 37 pages with the title:. Published by the White House, it details the measures that the Biden administration intends to take to fight various forms of corruption. Among the five pillars around which this strategy revolves, pillar 3 “Holding corrupt actors to account” specifically targets the cryptocurrency sector with two essential axes:
- the ;
- limit the ability 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 the files of a company and demanding the payment of a ransom in BTC (Bitcoin), a currency that allows the recipient to remain anonymous.
On May 7, a ransomware attack blocked the operation of the Colonial Pipeline, a8,900 kilometers in length that connect Houston (Texas) with New York, supplying most of the 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 “untraceable cryptocurrencies”, most likely in Bitcoin.
In early June it was the company JBS, which processes 20% of American meat, that had to resolve to pay the equivalent of $ 11 million in BTC.
Since the beginning of summer, Congress has addressed the issue. A first working group has been created to officially fight against.
Economic sanctions that could lose their effectiveness
This is not everything. One of the weapons commonly used by the United States to subdue certain nations is theEconomic sanctions. More than 9,000 sanctions of this type are currently in force, especially against countries such as North Korea and Iran.
Since September 2021,adopted Bitcoin as its 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 their sanctions system. “These technologies provide opportunities for malicious actors to withhold and transfer funds outside of the dollar-based financial system. They provide our adversaries with the means to build payment systems designed to diminish the global role of the dollar. “
A “task force” dedicated to cryptocurrencies
A working group has been established in the Ministry of Justice, the National Cryptocurrency Encorcement Team with the aim of “investigating this complex area and being able to pursue».
In fact, the Biden administration has already demonstrated surprising efficiency in its fight against cryptocurrency diversion. Thus, in June 2021, the Department of Justice was able to announce that the FBI had managed to recover 63.7 of the 75 bitcoins that had been disbursed to those responsible for the Colonial Pipeline ransomware. Western in perspective, then!
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