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Cryptocurrencies Used to Buy Illicit Drugs, Says White House

On Aug. 21, the White House issued two advisories regarding illicit drug purchases in the United States that contain references to the specific cryptocurrencies allegedly used as a part of this process.

The advisories were addressed to various financial institutions as well as digital payments platforms. The documents state:

“An analysis of sensitive financial data indicates that domestic illicit drug manufacturers, dealers, and consumers use online payment platforms or CVC to purchase precursor chemicals or completely synthesized narcotics primarily sourced from China.”

White House: crypto used to pay for foreign drugs

In the context of the documents CVC refers to “convertible virtual currencies,” particularly Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and Monero (XMR). The drug fentanyl is also noted specifically in the advisories:

“Similar to purchases from a foreign source of supply using MSBs or online payment processors, individuals located in the United States search for fentanyl and identify potential websites that may provide the opportunity to purchase illicit drugs online. Foreign representatives will instruct the U.S.-based individual to send payments through CVC, such as bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, or monero.”

Financial institutions are advised to collect crypto data

The advisories also note that “CVC transactions generate a significant variety of information elements that may be extremely useful to law enforcement.” 

Therefore, financial institutions are recommended to collect these details in case of any suspicion, including “virtual currency wallet addresses, account information, transaction details (including […] hash), relevant transaction history, available login information (including IP addresses), information obtained from analysis of the customer’s public online profile and communications, mobile device information,” etc.

As Cointelegraph reported last month, U.S. Department of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that the authority will be preventing Bitcoin from becoming an “equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts.”

Previously, Mnuchin also stated that he shares President Donald Trump’s concerns on the use of cryptocurrency to finance illicit activity.

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