‘Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists Use of Virtual Currencies Act’ Passes House of Representatives

On September 12, 2017, HR 2433, the "Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists Use of Virtual Currencies Act" was passed by the House of Representatives.

As previously covered by ETHNews, the act was introduced to the House of Representatives on May 16. As written, it directs the Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis to develop and disseminate a threat assessment regarding terrorist use of virtual currency. The act was written in the wake of a hacking scandal involving the WannaCry virus that had held afflicted users' data for ransom in exchange for bitcoins.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) welcomes the legislation. A DHS official spoke to ETHNews about HR 2433. “Anytime we can deny terrorists of funding avenues is good. Also, this bill goes a long way to recognizing cryptocurrencies are here to stay and will become more ingrained in the fabric of our lives. The drawback is the lack of knowledge about cryptocurrencies within DHS.” The official said that the DHS is working to fix that every day.

New York Democratic Representative Kathleen Rice told ETHNews what the passing of the bill signifies.

“Research suggests that terrorists’ use of virtual currencies has so far been limited, but as virtual currencies become more accessible and terrorist groups become more tech savvy, this threat could grow significantly in a short time. Passing this bill is an opportunity to get ahead of it – to study it, better understand it, and identify what we can do to ensure that virtual currencies aren’t used to finance terrorist activities in the future."

The road ahead for HR2433 will lead to the Senate and possibly to the president.

"I’m grateful that this legislation received such widespread bipartisan support," said Rice, "and I’ll keep working to get it taken up in the Senate and sent to the President’s desk.”