Government officials and private sector stakeholders are proposing bitcoin regulation that hampers the ability of cybercriminals to receive cryptocurrency payment for ransomware attacks.
<p>The recent proposal by the Ransomware Task Force seeks to reduce the power of ransomware attacks, which have been steadily increasing over the last few years. Embedded in that proposal is a recommendation to require cryptocurrency exchanges to follow the same “know your customer” (KYC) rules as mainstream financial institutions. If adopted, this regulation would certainly force a change in the behaviour of malicious actors—potentially driving them to other forms of cryptocurrency and potentially slowing the flow of illicit funds. It would also alter one of the key tenets of cryptocurrency: anonymity. Knowing the identity connected to a particular wallet would also, due to the underlying technology, allow governments to identify all transactions that involved that wallet throughout its lifetime. Anonymity and financial transactions “off the grid” would be abandoned in order to reduce criminal behaviour. Depending on your viewpoint, this may be a fair trade off (reducing the ease of illicit enterprise that exploits organizations and individuals alike)—or it might be a potential disaster (giving authoritarian governments another tool with which to control their citizens). Identity continues to evolve to become not just the new security perimeter, but an ethical divide as well.</p>
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