Terror attacks pose a serious threat to public safety and national security. New technologies assist these attacks, magnify them, and render them deadlier. The more funding terrorist organizations manage to raise, the greater their capacity to recruit members, organize, and commit terror attacks. Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, law enforcement agencies have increased their efforts to develop more anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering regulations, which are designed to block the flow of financing of terrorism and cut off its oxygen. However, at present, most regulatory measures focus on traditional currencies. As these restrictions become more successful, the likelihood that cryptocurrencies will be used as an alternative to fund illicit behaviors grows. Furthermore, the COVID-19 virus and subsequent social distancing guidelines have increased the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering, material support to terror, and other financial crimes.
Cryptocurrencies are a game-changer, significantly affecting market functions like never before and making it easier to finance terrorism and other types of criminal activity. These decentralized and (usually) anonymous currencies facilitate a high volume of transactions, allowing terrorists to engage in extensive fundraising, management, transfer, and spending for illegal activities. As cryptocurrencies gain popularity, the issue of regulating them becomes more urgent. This Article proposes to reform cryptocurrency regulation. It advocates for mandatory obligations directed at cryptocurrency issuers, wallet providers, and exchanges to verify the identity of users on the blockchain. Thus, courts could grant warrants obligating cryptocurrency-issuing companies to unmask the identity of cryptocurrency users when there is probable cause that their activities support terrorism or other money laundering schemes. Such reforms would stifle terrorism and other types of criminal activity financed through cryptocurrencies, curbing harmful activities and promoting national security. In recognition of the legal challenges this solution poses, this Article also addresses substantial objections that might be raised regarding the proposed reforms, such as innovation concerns, First Amendment arguments, and Fourth Amendment protections. It concludes by addressing measures to efficiently promote application of the proposed reforms.
Hadar Y. Jabotinsky and Michal Lavi,
Speak Out: Verifying and Unmasking Cryptocurrency User Identity,
32 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 518
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/iplj/vol32/iss3/1