The United States is already infamous for the lack of love for Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies. The country’s regulators do not seem to be doing much in terms of regulating the sector, and many questions remain unanswered. Crypto-entrepreneurs are discouraged from starting the businesses there, as many fear the things could turn south for the crypto sector in the USA at any time.
This negative stance towards digital currencies only worsened in recent weeks, especially after Facebook posted an announcement about its Libra coin. It is safe to say that nobody among the US government officials appreciated the news, and even the US President Donald Trump felt obligated to tweet about virtual assets, acknowledging them publicly for the first time.
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
President Trump clearly stated his distaste for cryptocurrencies, directly naming Bitcoin and Libra in his tweets, seemingly concerned about potential illicit uses. Criminals have indeed used crypto in unlawful activities such as cybercrime, ransomware, money laundering, and more. However, it does not appear that the negativity towards cryptocurrencies will stop anytime soon, especially not after the recent report from the United Nations.
The new report commented on the recent development of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program. According to the UN, the rogue nation seems to have recently found a new way to fund its criminal operation. They used hacking attacks against significant crypto exchanges where they stole the stored funds. The move is likely only to increase the gap between cryptocurrency and the US authorities, further convincing them that criminals only use crypto.
The future of crypto in the US looks grim
After Trump’s anti-Bitcoin tweets, the Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, did pretty much the same. He voiced his concerns regarding digital currencies, stating that they might be used for supporting billions of dollars of illicit activity.
He highlighted some of the activities directly, including tax evasion, drug trafficking, cybercrime, extortion, human trafficking, and ransomware. After expressing their concerns, the high-ranking US officials only need a single example of crypto misuse to demonize digital currencies further. Unfortunately, the United Nations’ report has given them exactly what they needed.
The report of North Korea using cryptocurrencies stolen from the exchanges for financing their weapons program is a severe problem for the crypto industry especially after the report mentions explicitly that Pyongyang used cyberspace for launching sophisticated attacks on crypto exchanges and financial institutions, solely to steal funds and generate income.
The country has also been connected to exchange attacks in South Korea for quite a while. Now, according to the UN report, these attacks may have resulted in over $2 billion in stolen funds.
Because the US is already skeptical towards cryptocurrencies, as well as the fact that this is the time of high tensions when it comes to the country’s international policy — it is unlikely that the country won’t take any action. Of course, there are countless arguments against this ‘crypto is only used by criminals’ stance. But, it is also true that digital currencies made stealing money, laundering it, or moving under the radar quite possible.
The biggest fear right now is that regulators might be much quicker to ban crypto than they were to regulate it. Connecting cryptocurrencies to weapons of mass destruction definitely have its impact, and concerns are more profound than ever. This is not good for crypto space, and the damage it is causing may end up being irreparable.
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