NBC News recently published an interesting report with relation to the United States Military (the United States Central Commands, to be specific) studying bitcoin to help them gain any advantage over wrongdoers who could be making use of digital currency for the purpose of terrorism financing, etc.
The idea is to figure out if these digital currencies can be traced and to find out how they are being used by enemies of the United States, and the report indicates that the general policy counsel at the Bitcoin Foundation, Jim Harper, took a trip to Florida recently to take part in a discussion with the military on this very topic.
An official with the defense department told NBC News with regard to the event:
[blockquote style=”2″]”We’re trying to do our best to understand the true scope of the threat that we are dealing with […] We have to fully understand all of the components and functions of the adversary across the globe—not just in Syria and Iraq—and the manner in which those adversaries raise, hide and move money.”[/blockquote]
As the unrest in the Middle East continues, the United States military seeks to be one step ahead at all times, and exploring digital currencies is just one of the many different items the Department of Defense looks into (for example, previous discussions included capital markets and mobile banking).
This “Virtual Currency Workshop” — as it was called — was organized by the Business Executives for National Security group (which includes members like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and David Koch), and about 100 attendees were on-hand. They included payment processing specialists, bitcoin experts, representatives from the Treasury and Dept. of Homeland Security, Intelligence community, and even Silicon Valley executives.
As mentioned, the military is looking for ways to trace bitcoin, with one attendee at the meeting describing cryptocurrencies as “very dangerous stuff” for the military’s operations. He was quoted as saying:
[blockquote style=”2″]”We were brought in [to Monday’s meeting] to work on ways to meet the challenge […] I don’t want to say what they were.”[/blockquote]
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Jim Harper said, “This is the first time I’ve talked in an organized way with the U.S. military.”
“The bitcoin community doesn’t necessarily endorse U.S. foreign policy, and the bitcoin community doesn’t necessarily endorse everything the U.S. intelligence community does,” adding that, “things that are morally wrong, bitcoin rejects.”
While many in the community assumed the Department of Defense would be looking into digital currencies, this all but confirms it. The only question now is: will they find a way to use bitcoin to their advantage?