Bitcoin (BTC)


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Late last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators presented the Financial Technology Protection Act, which would “create a working group tasked with studying how terrorists or other criminals might use cryptocurrencies and other new financial technologies, and create proposals for Congress and regulatory agencies aimed at countering these uses”. This working group “would be composed of representatives from the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State and the CIA”.

Bitcoiners must pay attention to these advancements as the DOJ in specific has actually tried to paint bitcoin as the payment of option for popular horror groups like ISIS and al-Qaida, signaling that the working group proposed by this costs will likely look for to particularly target bitcoin. Adding to this issue is the reality that a multitude of current mainstream media reports — which mention Treasury and FinCEN authorities, DOJ authorities and CIA experts — have actually declared particularly that “terrorists are turning to bitcoin, and they’re learning fast”, that bitcoin is the “new frontier in terror financing”, which “bitcoin is helping terrorists secretly fund their deadly attacks”. Even the popular military think tank RAND Corporation has actually argued that “bitcoin and the dark web” are the most recent terrorist hazard.

Many of these very same entities, especially the U.S. Department of Justice, are also presently assisting to prepare the UN’s brand-new cybercrime treaty, revealing that there is presently a really international effort to stomp out “cybercrime” and declared financing sources for “cybercriminals”. However, similar to the words “terror” and “terrorist” after 9/11, the terms “cybercrime” and “cybercriminals” are typically slightly specified by these very same authorities.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of the groups aiming to apparently fight cybercrime in the U.S. and beyond, consisting of the Department of Justice and the FBI, belong to a worldwide public-private collaboration housed within the World Economic Forum that is looking for to specify these terms in disturbing methods. Not just that, however this group and its partner companies are also looking for policy goals that — if commonly executed — would deal with confidential cryptocurrency deals, and particularly Bitcoin deals including mixers and associated privacy tools, as criminal. They also assert, without proof, that there is a direct link in between a boost in the worth of cryptocurrencies, particularly of bitcoin, and cybercriminal activity.

This public-private collaboration — the WEF Partnership Against Cybercrime or WEF-PAC — is run by a previous secret agent called Tal Goldstein, whose military intelligence profession was marked by his efforts to have intelligence firms basically fuse with personal innovation business in his native Israel. Today, WEF-PAC’s members not just consist of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and intelligence firms of Israel and Britain, they also consist of huge too-big-to-fail banks like Bank of America and Santander in addition to huge tech business like Amazon and Microsoft. Even the not-for-profit that handles the quick payment system is a member.

In current reports, WEF-PAC has actually declared that there is a connection in between making use of cryptocurrencies in addition to privacy-enhancing tools such as mixers and the occurrence of cybercrime. They go on to argue that, “Cybercriminals abuse encryption, cryptocurrencies, anonymity services and other technologies”, despite the fact that their usage is barely unique to wrongdoers. Though they avoid calling any currency particularly, the WEF has actually specified somewhere else on its site that, “Governments don’t like the fact that bitcoin users are anonymous, and they have concerns over its use for criminal activity and money laundering”, including that “their worries aren’t unfounded”.

It’s crucial to explain that WEF-PAC doesn’t see cybercriminals simply as those who take part in hacks or economically determined imitate ransomware attacks. To WEF-PAC “cybercriminals” also consist of those who utilize those innovations to “uphold terrorism” and “spread disinformation to destabilize governments and democracies”. From that, it appears that WEF-PAC’s addition of “disinformation” as a kind of cybercrime betrays an intent to establish policies that, under the guise of “combatting cybercrime”, will also promote increased online censorship.

In going over “solutions”, WEF-PAC requires the international targeting of “infrastructures and assets” considered to help with cybercrime, consisting of those that make it possible for “cybercriminal… revenue streams”, which — as we will see quickly —– describes the facilities that enables more personal cryptocurrency deals, and allows “the promotion of illegal sites and the hosting of criminal content”. In another area, the group goes over taking the sites of “cybercriminals” as an appealing possibility. Given that WEF-PAC and its members, like the FBI, view online “disinformation” as a kind of cybercrime, this might possibly see independent media sites and the facilities that enables them to run and fund their work (i.e., video sharing platforms that do not censor, and so on.) become targets. Earlier this month, the FBI, in coordination with the National Police of Ukraine, did simply this, taking 9 crypto exchanges, most of which had bitcoin or btc in the domain. Their criminal offense? Offering “anonymous cryptocurrency exchange services to website visitors”.

WEF-PAC even more argues that “in order to reduce the global impact of cybercrime and to systematically restrain cybercriminals, cybercrime must be confronted at its source by raising the cost of conducting cybercrimes, cutting the activities’ profitability and deterring criminals by increasing the direct risk they face”. It then argues, unsurprisingly, that due to the fact that the cybercrime hazard is international in scope, its “solution must also be a globally coordinated effort”. They state that the primary method to accomplish this includes “harnessing the private sector to work side by side with law enforcement officials”. Shockingly, WEF-PAC requires this “cooperation” to happen even if it is “not always aligned with existing legislative and operational frameworks”. In other words, they are stating this cooperation needs to be enabled to happen even if it is unlawful.

So how precisely do the members of WEF-PAC intend on challenging cybercrime “at its source by raising the cost of conducting cybercrimes, cutting the activities’ profitability and deterring criminals by increasing the direct risk they face”? While they are tight-lipped on the specific steps, another group carefully lined up with the WEF, and with substantial overlap with WEF-PAC, has some concepts.

The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or FS-ISAC, formally exists to “help ensure the resilience and continuity of the global financial services infrastructure and individual firms against acts that could significantly impact the sector’s ability to provide services critical to the orderly function of the global economy”. In other words, FS-ISAC enables the personal financial services market to choose and coordinate sector-wide reactions concerning how financial services are offered throughout and after a provided crisis, consisting of a cyber attack or sector-wide issue over cybercrime, like previous WEF cautions of a coming cyber “pandemic”. Tellingly, FS-ISAC was produced in 1999, the very same year that the Glass-Steagall Act was rescinded.

FS-ISAC’s members consist of the most significant companies on Wall Street — Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley are amongst its members — and much of FS-ISAC’s management adds to, works for, or chairs committees and efforts of the World Economic Forum, consisting of those concentrated on cybercrime and ransomware. In 2021, FS-ISAC’s Global Intelligence Office launched a number of “predictions for 2021 and beyond”. Most of these forecasts reveal issue about a coming cyber catastrophe, though one forecast in specific sticks out: The “economic drivers towards cybercrime will increase”. FS-ISAC declares that the present financial circumstance produced by COVID-related lockdowns will “make cybercrime an ever more attractive alternative”, right away later on mentioning that “dramatic increases in cryptocurrency valuation may drive threat actors to conduct campaigns capitalising on this market, including extortion campaigns against financial institutions and their customers”.

In other words, FS-ISAC views the boost in the worth of cryptocurrency as a direct motorist of cybercrime, especially for ransomware events, suggesting that the worth of cryptocurrency should be handled if there is to be a decrease in cybercrime and if cybercrime is too be faced at its source by assaulting its “profitability”, as WEF-PAC recommends. However, the information does not fit these assertions as making use of cryptocurrency by cybercriminals is low and getting lower. For circumstances, one current research study — paradoxically produced by WEF-PAC member Chainalysis — discovered that just 0.34% of cryptocurrency deals in 2020 were connected to criminal activity, below 2% the year prior. Though the decline might be because of a dive in cryptocurrency adoption, the total portion of crime-linked crypto deals is exceptionally low, a reality undoubtedly understood to FS-ISAC and its members.

What’s troubling here is that mainstream media has actually commonly flowed the claim that Bitcoin particularly is, to price estimate Forbes, “driving the $1.4 billion ransomware industry”. Or NPR, “bitcoin has fueled ransomware attacks”. Or an executive at WEF-PAC member Chainalysis, bitcoin is the “favorite by far” for ransomware assaulters. I might provide a lot more examples as there is really an abundance of reports similar to these that blame a dive in well-publicized cybercrime occasions — particularly ransomware attacks — on bitcoin’s increased appeal and bitcoin’s intrinsic worth.

Yet, here, if the banks, intelligence firms, and tech business that partnered with these efforts see, not simply financial privacy, however the worth of bitcoin itself as a risk, it goes without stating that their efforts to stop cybercrime at “its source” would not simply include getting rid of financial privacy when it pertains to crypto, however cheapening crypto. With such groups honestly going over working beyond “legal frameworks” to achieve their objectives, Bitcoiners need to begin paying closer attention to these shadowy groups.

There is no evidence that cryptocurrency, or more particularly bitcoin, is the essential motorist of cybercrime, as cybercrime substantially precedes the presence of both bitcoin and crypto. However, cryptocurrency does provide a risk to the strategies of FS-ISAC members and their partners to start producing digital currencies managed either by authorized business banks or reserve banks themselves, digital currencies that are developed to be quickly surveilled. Central bank digital currencies in specific are being developed and executed to wear down financial privacy and autonomy. The success of CBDCs and associated tasks depends upon sterilizing the competitors, which is most likely why FS-ISAC has actually required the financial motorists of cybercrime to be fought by “a global fin-cyber utility”, which is obviously the extremely exact same globalist entity that WEF-PAC looks for to develop.

Not long prior to FS-ISAC and WEF-PAC made these claims, lots of members of both groups took part in a 2020 effort hosted by the Carnegie Endowment, itself a member of WEF-PAC. The president of the Endowment at the time was William Burns, who consequently ended up being Joe Biden’s choice for CIA director less than a year later on. The Carnegie Endowment’s effort united lots of members of WEF-PAC and FS-ISAC with a crucial addition — agents of reserve banks, particularly the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Also especially present in this effort was the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

The report established by these celebrations is remarkable as it specifies that the primary reason for international financial instability is not reckless reserve bank policies or business banks participating in criminal habits, however rather “the current fragmentation among stakeholders and initiatives”. They argue that the primary service required to “stabilize” the international financial system depends on decreasing that “fragmentation”. The just method to achieve that, they state, needs a huge reorganization of all “stakeholders” by means of increased international coordination and particularly keeps in mind that the “disconnect between the finance, the national security and the diplomatic communities is particularly pronounced” and requires much closer interaction in between the 3. It goes on to state:

“This requires countries not only to better organize themselves domestically but also to strengthen international cooperation to defend against, investigate, prosecute and ideally prevent future attacks. This implies that the financial sector and financial authorities must regularly interact with law enforcement and other national security agencies in unprecedented ways, both domestically and internationally.”

Essentially, this effort has actually required merging business banks and financial authorities (i.e., regulators) with nationwide security and police. This policy might not be more dystopian. Making things even worse is the reality that WEF-PAC, of which the Carnegie Endowment and a lot of the other companies behind this policy are members, not just require this very same combination to happen however also to do so in manner ins which might be unlawful.

A combining of business banks, their regulators and the intelligence firms is a total headache situation, however this is precisely what the World Economic Forum has actually pertained to promote as a design for “public-private partnership”. But, maybe more seriously for American residents, this is a policy established with the direct involvement of the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the nation’s most “systemically important” business banks. The “establishment” in this nation supports these policies and, from what I can see, they have every intent of attempting to make them a truth.

These American federal firms, organizations, and business banks are playing a significant function in establishing policies that will undoubtedly target bitcoin. They have actually made it extremely clear in these policy files, bred by groups like the WEF, that they see financial privacy, the appeal of bitcoin and the worth of bitcoin as direct hazards accountable for what they specify as “cybercrime”.

Yet, time and time once again, the American individuals have actually been fleeced and robbed by a lot of these very same firms and a lot of these very same business banks. The huge banks like HSBC can wash countless dollars for drug cartels and absolutely nothing occurs to them; nobody goes to prison. The CIA has actually washed unknown millions through criminal banks like BCCI, a bank which also ran its own sex trafficking operation including prepubescent kids, and once again absolutely nothing was done and nobody went to prison. FTX can wash help cash apparently predestined for Ukraine and after that funnel it back as project contributions to the very same political celebration establishing crypto policies, while painting bitcoin as a “national security threat”. Sam Bankman-Fried was the only individual apprehended and today, he’s not in jail; he’s being in a multimillion-dollar estate in California ready to get 10 of the 13 charges versus him dismissed. The present president’s kid can wash as much cash as he desires after leaving the proof on a laptop computer he deserted and still the intelligence neighborhood pertains to his defense, incorrectly declaring the information on this laptop computer — now confessed to be his — was a “Russian hoax”. These men are the genuine wrongdoers and if you believe they appreciate stopping cash laundering and cybercrime in any significant method, you have actually been had.

But, quickly, if absolutely nothing is done to stop these policies that are being prepared behind closed doors, utilize a Bitcoin mixer and take actions to keep your Bitcoin deals confidential, you’ll be implicated of acting suspiciously like a “cybercriminal”. Complain about the apparent double basic and you’ll be implicated of dispersing “disinformation” and end up being a cybercriminal yourself.

What must especially worry us now is how these firms, entities, and “public-private partnerships” strategy to make approval for their policies. As things stand today, a great deal of the policies thought up by these groups that I’ve simply explained would, I hope, be declined by the large bulk of Americans. That is, obviously, unless the best crisis were to come along and all of a sudden make most Americans incredibly worried about “cybercrime”.

While cautions of a so-called “cyber pandemic” drifted around in 2021 as a series of prominent and extremely advertised ransomware attacks occurred, we haven’t heard as much because. Yet, with the last international crisis, COVID-19, formally over according to the U.S. federal government and the WHO, some are raising the alarm that a brand-new international crisis is quickly to make a significant look.

Well, provided what I’ve been stating, let’s sign in with the World Economic Forum and see what they believe this next international crisis will be. Well, in January of this year, Jeremy Jurgens, second at the WEF after Klaus Schwab, asserted that a “catastrophic mutating event will strike the world in 2 years”. What a positive forecast! So what is this “catastrophic mutating event” that will strike the world prior to 2025, according to Jurgens? If you thought “a global catastrophic cyber event”, you win.

At a discussion at this year’s Davos, Jurgens declared that “93 percent of cyber leaders, and 86 percent of cyber business leaders, believe that the geopolitical instability makes a catastrophic cyber event” basically unavoidable prior to 2025. Joining Jurgens in fearmongering over a cyber end ofthe world was Jurgen Stock, the head of INTERPOL, among the most prominent members of WEF-PAC. I must also include that the UN, which, as I pointed out previously, is presently making its brand-new cybercrime treaty, has actually called Interpol as “uniquely positioned to be the implementing partner of a number of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals”, particularly when it pertains to “disrupting financial streams” of declared terrorists, “securing cyberspace”, and “curbing illicit markets”.

Jurgens’ and Stock’s comments about a “catastrophic cyber attack” prior to 2025 generated hysterical mainstream headings cautioning of “cyber apocalypse 2023”. That very same month, Newsweek’s print edition included a threatening hacker on the cover with the words “Hack Attack: How Cybercriminals Outwit All Efforts to Stop Them”. Many of the professionals estimated in the Hack Attack post work for business that are WEF-PAC members, like the intelligence-linked cybersecurity company Checkpoint.

In current years, there has actually been much discuss a huge end ofthe world cyber attack and now it appears leading individuals at the WEF and WEF-PAC feel great adequate to put a reasonably brief timeline on it. How bad will this attack be if and when it emerges? Considering that the head of the Department of Homeland Security has actually declared that the “next cyberattack” will eliminate individuals, it appears like a cyber 9/11 might be waiting in the wings — to be followed quickly afterwards, obviously, by a cyber Patriot Act or something extremely comparable. If bitcoin is blamed for inspiring or moneying the cybercriminals considered accountable for such a disaster, what will occur to popular opinion about bitcoin and what kind of legislation might we see rammed through Congress?

Given what I’ve explained here, the WEF and its allies, consisting of a number of U.S. federal government firms, require a couple things to come to the leading edge of the general public mind prior to they can use the dystopian “solutions” that they have currently on the books. In order to fuse banks, regulators, and the nationwide security state to end “fragmentation” in the international financial system, “global financial instability” need to initially end up being a significant international issue. With whatever that has actually been happening because the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, it appears we are not that far from “global financial instability” ending up being a leading issue for the typical individual.

The other thing they require to occur is for the typical individual to end up being exceptionally afraid of financial privacy and online privacy, to the point that they will voluntarily trade their privacy for higher security, or rather what will be offered as higher security. Bitcoin, privacy-minded crypto, and privacy-preserving innovations like file encryption need to end up being public opponent number one in order for the used service to be accepted by the masses: An entirely surveilled web and totally surveilled financial system.

The battle over the control of the cryptocurrency area belongs to the bigger war being contested the future of our society, our nation, and the world. Will we sleepwalk into a world of CBDCs where intelligence firms, reserve banks, and business banks have merged into the very same Orwellian entity, where holding “terror-linked” bitcoin or utilizing file encryption or mixers makes you a “cybercriminal”? Or will we battle the groups and organizations that have robbed American wealth for well over a century, and require a go back to the Constitution and the right to privacy, not simply economically however in all senses? Those that want to require us into the previous situation plainly and unquestionably see Bitcoin and privacy-enhancing innovation as a direct hazard to their power.

There has actually never ever been a more vital time to pick a side. 

This post is included in Bitcoin Magazine’s “The Withdrawal Issue”. Click here to subscribe now.

A PDF handout of this post is readily available for download.

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