Few groups have been as early and as active in attempting to understand the implications of digital currency and blockchain technology as US law enforcement.
Despite expanded use and investment, cryptographic currencies such as bitcoin continue to be widely used for illicit activities. Dark market operators and extortionists were early and aggressive in their attempts to capitalize on the digital payment network and its cash-like approach to transactions, a trend that continues.
As evidence, the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California (DOJ), appointed Kathryn Haun as its first Digital Currency Crimes Coordinator this June. The position finds Haun heading up a multi-agency task force in San Francisco and comprised of representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Secret Service (USSS), among several other federal and state organizations.
In an interview, Haun countered some of the misconceptions that have sometimes proliferated among the technology’s enthusiasts, many of whom seek to portray the interests of her agency and the US government as at odds with a currency that operates without government backing.
Haun stressed that the DOJ and others tasked