Task Force Holds Brown Bag Lunch Briefing on Terrorist Use of Virtual Currencies

May 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Wednesday, May 3, the bipartisan Task Force on Anti-Terrorism & Proliferation Financing hosted a “Brown Bag Lunch” briefing on “Terrorist Use of Virtual Currencies:  Containing the Potential Threat.”

Zachary Goldman and Elizabeth Rosenberg from the Center for a New American Security discussed the risk that virtual currencies (VCs) may become involved in the financing of terrorism at a significant scale. VCs and associated technologies hold great promise for low-cost, high speed, verified transactions that can unite counterparties around the world. For this reason, they could seem appealing to terrorist groups (as they are at present to cyber criminals). Currently, however, there is no more than anecdotal evidence that terrorist groups have used virtual currencies to support themselves. Terrorists in the Gaza Strip have used virtual currencies to fund operations, and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) members and supporters have been particularly receptive to the new technology, with recorded uses in Indonesia and the United States.  The task of the law enforcement, intelligence, regulatory, and financial services communities, therefore, must be to prevent terrorist groups from using VCs at scale. The briefing explored how they may do so while analyzing the risk factors that virtual currencies may be converted to use by terrorist groups.

 

Time and Location of Briefing:

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 from 12:15-1:15 p.m.

2261 Rayburn House Office Building