FBI Explores The Implications Of Bitcoin
from the why-that's-so-2011 dept
The report is pretty even-handed, actually. It notes that there's a reasonable likelihood that "malicious actors will exploit Bitcoin to launder money." However, it at least admits, noting that this is no different than cash, that users of Bitcoin "value the currency for many of the same reasons people trust Federal Reserve notes: they believe they can exchange the currency for goods, services or a national currency at a later date." It does highlight some "unique features" that make Bitcoin especially suited for illegal activity -- but most of those just seem to be examples of Bitcoin being used for questionable activity, rather than specific features of Bitcoin.
It also suggests that the FBI isn't that worried about the fact that some uses of Bitcoin can be anonymous -- noting (correctly) that it's not as anonymous as some people think, and good old fashioned detective work can often uncover the people:
Although Bitcoin does not have a centralized authority, the FBI assesses with medium confidence that law enforcement can discover more information about, and in some cases identify, malicious actors, if the actors convert their bitcoins into a fiat currency. Thirdparty bitcoin services may require customers to submit valid identification or bank information to complete transactions. Furthermore, any third-party service that qualifies as a money transmitter, and therefore a MSB, must register with the FinCEN and implement an anti-money laundering program.All in all, I actually expected more hyperbole and fear mongering, but seeing as this was meant for internal use, rather than for political gain, it seems like the paper was pretty even-handed. Of course, none of that matters at all if no one is using Bitcoin any more...