During the May 15th crypto-themed “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session, it was discovered that the United States Secret Service agency owns crypto and also has a Non-fungible token (NFT) collection. The AMA session was held by the United States Secret Service’s San Francisco Field Office and the Bay Area Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) on Reddit.
The U.S Secret Service explained that owning crypto helps them to better understand the dynamics of the digital asset space.
“Pretty much most cases require a certain level of ELI5’ing. It’s somewhat of a running joke around here,” the agency said while referring to the popular subreddit r/explainlikeimfive “ELI5”.
Secret Service Regards Crypto as a Combating Instrument
Unlike other agencies and regulators that have regarded crypto more as a tool used by scammers to commit evil, representatives of the agencies applauded blockchain technology as an instrument for combating financial crimes.
These agencies cited the public and transparent nature of blockchain, referring to it as an amazing opportunity for enforcement agents to monitor the flow of money. Notably, the U.S Secret Service have benefited severally from this blockchain capability including successfully tracking some funds flow.
$100M Worth of Crypto in Secret Service Custody
In April 2022, it was revealed that the agency had up to $100 million worth of cryptocurrencies in its custody which were seized from cybercrime cases. These were from some of the cases the Secret Service had been tracking as far back as 2015. In total, there were around 254 cases at the time.
David Smith, the assistant director of investigation at the agency explained how blockchain had helped to make the tracking process easier.
“When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s not different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers. And once a person and another person make a transaction, and that gets into the blockchain, we have the ability to follow that email address or wallet address if you will, and trace it through the blockchain,” he said.
SEC Crackdown on Crypto Exchanges
On the other hand, regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have given crypto firms no breathing space. The SEC seems to be on a major crackdown on crypto exchanges. A handful of crypto exchanges are currently under the radar of the regulator including Kraken, Bittrex, Coinbase, and Ripple.