A newly-released memorandum dating back to May 2013 (and obtained via the Canadian Access to Intermation Act) originating at the Canadian Finance Department suggests that bitcoin and digital currencies could serve as “an attractive payment method for criminals,” The Canadian Press reports.
The internal memo was said to have been prepared for now-deceased finance minister Mr. Jim Flaherty, and while it makes no indication as to what the levels of abuse are, it does make clear that bitcoin can be used for illicit purposed. Sound familiar? That’s because cash can be used for these purposes, too.
“Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin have been criticized for their potential to fund illicit activity, such as money laundering and terrorist financing,” the memo reads.
“For example, there have been a number of security incidents in which Bitcoin wallets or other infrastructures have been compromised,” the memo includes. “These incidents have exposed users to either theft of Bitcoins or theft of personal information given to Bitcoin exchanges.”
It’s one of many notes circulating throughout governments (and this one proves just how far back the topic of bitcoin was being discussed within governments) that make similar claims, and there are likely to be many more in the months and years ahead.
For many lawmakers and government officials, it’s difficult to see beyond the fact that thousands of bitcoins were lost during the Mt. Gox collapse, or thousands more seized from an underground drug marketplace (granted, these are two events that took place after the memo was written, but you get the idea).
These are stories the mainstream media eats up and spits out — often misinforming and misleading the general public — or just generally giving them the wrong impression.
And the bitcoin community is working hard to change that. Just today, we learned that Representative Jared Polis was co-hosting an even on Capitol Hill promoting bitcoin and educating lawmakers.