Homeland Security is keeping eye on Bitcoin

As one bitcoin is continues to rise above $10,000, a plethora of Wall Street executives and analysts decided to weight in on the cryptocurrency. Given the cryptocurrency’s popularity, a reporter decided to question White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, during a press briefing session, on whether the government is planning for cryptocurrency regulations, given that the President regularly mentions the stock market.

In response, Sarah Sanders revealed that the White House is monitoring cryptocurrencies, but doesn’t have any announcements it can share, and would later follow up on it at a later time. The press secretary’s vague answer led to a follow-up: “what kind of monitoring?”

In response, Sanders revealed that the issue had been brought up in a meeting by a member of the Homeland Security Team, Tom Bossert. She continued, adding that cryptocurrencies are being kept an eye on, stating:

“I know it’s something that he’s keeping an eye on. And we’ll keep you posted when we have anything further on it.”

As Gizmodo pointed out, the choice of getting Homeland Security to monitor cryptocurrencies seems somewhat odd, as the SEC or the Secretary of Treasury seem even already have experience with the cryptocurrency ecosystem. In the past, Tom Bossert has seemingly only publicly referred to bitcoin in relation to ransomware.

The move may potentially indicate cryptocurrencies are being monitored only when being used for illegal activities. Earlier this year, two major law enforcement operations led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Dutch National Police, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in coordination with Europol, took down two of darknet’s biggest markets: AlphaBay and Hansa.

At the time, as the story developed, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during a press briefing at the Department of Justice (DOJ), revealed that president Donald Trump ordered the DOJ to take down these marketplaces.

During the press briefing, Sessions added that the takedowns were part of the battle against opioid addiction in the U.S., as per him the country is “in the midst of the deadliest drug epidemic” in its history.

Taking this into account, the White House’s monitoring efforts may simply mean they’re trying to stop cryptocurrencies from being used to fund the epidemic, and not that the U.S. government may be about to regulate them.