U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) has detailed recently how it is now working to expose transactions made by illegal drug traffickers using virtual currencies to cover their tracks.
In a sworn testimony to a Senate committee on Jan. 25th, ICE’s deputy assistant director Greg Nevano said the agency has seen heightened usage of Cryptocurrencies to pay for the trafficking of illicit drug such as opioids(i.e fentanyl).
The agency said it has adopted numerous strategies to expose drug traffickers who are now turning to cryptocurrencies en masse – for their anonymity and difficulty to trace.
Further, Nevano also mentioned that I.C.E is employing “complex blockchain technology exploitation tools” in an attempt to analyze cryptocurrency transactions and to discover the identities behind certain transactions. This is essentially forensics for the crypto-world. Training is said to be now being provided by the agency to national and international cryptocurrency investigators to continue tackling the issue.
While he did not disclose the specific details of the agency’s cryptocurrency investigations, the comments mark ICE’s newest effort into cryptocurrency’s underlying blockchain technology in order to strip its core – and treasured – features of anonymity.
In yet another testimony to a Senate committee, I.C.E further reported it’s concern that criminal organizations have been increasingly using digital currencies to both launder money and pay for illegal activities.