SAN FRANCISCO — Government authorities and industry officials confronting an epidemic of ransomware. Hackers freeze the computers of a target and demand a payoff. This is to zero in on cryptocurrency regulation the key to combating the scourge, sources familiar with the work of a public-private task force stated.
The panel of experts is expected to call for far more aggressive tracking of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Those have won greater acceptance among investors over the past year. They’re the lifeblood of ransomware operators and other criminals who face little risk of prosecution in much of the world.
Ransomware gangs collected almost $350 million last year, up threefold from 2019. Companies, government agencies, hospitals, and school systems. These are just are among the victims of ransomware groups. Some of which U.S. officials say have friendly relations with nation-states, including North Korea and Russia.
The chief executive of the Institute for Security and Technology, who led the Ransomware Task Force, Philip Reiner, stated that,
“There’s a lot more that can be done to constrain the abuse of these pretty amazing technologies.” He declined to comment on the report before its release.”
CBDC To Help With Bitcoin Regulation
Just a week ago, the U.S. Department of Justice established a government group on ransomware. Central bank regulators and financial crime investigators worldwide. They are now debating if and how CBDC should regulate cryptocurrencies.
The new rules proposed by the public-private panel. Some of which would need Congressional action, are primarily aimed at piercing the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, the sources said. If implemented, they could temper enthusiasm among those who see the cryptocurrencies as a refuge; from national monetary policies and government oversight of individuals’ financial activities, having surged past $1 trillion in total capitalization.
The task force included representatives from the FBI and the United States Secret Service, and major tech and security companies. It will recommend extending “know-your-customer” regulations to currency exchanges, for instance. This is to impose stricter licensing requirements for those processing cryptocurrencies and extending money-laundering rules to facilities such as kiosks for converting currency.
It also calls for creating a unique team of experts within the Justice Department. This is to facilitate seizures of cryptocurrency, a process that is currently tense with logistical and legal challenges.
Some of the ideas echo those proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; from which would expand disclosure rules for transactions worth more than $10,000.
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