Former CIA Director Affirms Bitcoin Criminal Usage Is “Significantly Overstated”

Michael Morell says the United States should embrace blockchain technology, not quell it.

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Key Takeaways

  • The use of cryptocurrency in illegal activities only makes up 0.3% of total spending.
  • Blockchain analysis offers authorities an invaluable tool to fight organized crime.
  • Leveraging blockchain technology will be an invaluable tool for the US in its economic struggle with China.

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The former director of America’s Central Intelligence Agency has released a research paper refuting the popular narrative claiming Bitcoin is used for criminal activities.

Ex-CIA Director Comes to Bitcoin’s Side

Michael Morell spent 33 years in the CIA and served as its deputy director from 2010 to 2013. The retired official was commissioned to write an independent report by the Crypto Council for Innovation.

His findings included two important conclusions which fly in the face of recent declarations by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

First, the generalizations against Bitcoin’s illicit use made by the Treasury Secretary are significantly overstated, Morell said.

The well-known narrative of Bitcoin as an asset used by terrorists and arms dealers doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. On the contrary, the author actually argues that blockchain analysis is a highly effective crime-fighting and intelligence-gathering tool. Instead of fighting blockchain technology, U.S. authorities should embrace it for its transparency.

In an interview with Forbes, Morell insisted that if the U.S. continues to waste its energy fighting a decentralized network instead of leveraging its potential and supporting the many homegrown crypto companies, the country will face severe geopolitical repercussions.

His findings correlate with official numbers on crypto criminality, showing that the amount of criminal spending on the blockchain can be estimated to around 0.3% of all crypto spending.

“We need to make sure that the conventional wisdom that is wrong about the illicit use of Bitcoin doesn’t hold us back from pushing forward the technological changes that are going to allow us to keep pace with China,” he told Forbes.

Disclaimer: The author held BTC at the time of writing.

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