The Department of Justice recently released a report that served as a “Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework” as part of the Attorney General’s Cyber Digital Task Force. The full contents can be read here. What follows are some key takeaways from the report and some additional context.
1- Distributed ledger technology and even cryptocurrency itself is regarded as a potential positive technological force by the Department of Justice
“At the outset, it bears emphasizing that distributed ledger technology, upon which all cryptocurrencies build, raises breathtaking possibilities for human flourishing.” — in almost the beginning of the report this key point stands out almost right away —a somewhat positive attitude to DLT and blockchain.
The report then brings up case studies of DLT usage in the federal government, from the FDA’s pilot of a machine learning and blockchain-based system to modernize food safety to the Department of Defense’s consideration of blockchain “to provide increased effectiveness, efficiency, and security.”
Even cryptocurrencies, often shorn by states and condemned by European financial institutions and Chinese ones alike, get some light credit in the first section — though it’s in the context of the Federal Reserve piloting digital currencies, not in the context of independent peers arriving to a global consensus — in other words, cryptocurrency concepts without the governance and political choices that make cryptocurrency special.
2- Three categories of crime involving cryptocurrency fall into special scrutiny by the Department of Justice: financial transactions involved with criminal activity (such as buying illegal drugs with cryptocurrencies), money laundering/evading tax laws, and crime such