David M. Smith, a senior official with the United States Secret Service, discussed cryptocurrency operations in an interview with CNBC released this Tuesday. He is the 28th Assistant Director of the agency, and he oversees the global investigative missions, which consists of 161 offices and over 3,000 people. In particular, The Secret Service is in charge of discovering, investigating, and arresting individuals violating laws regarding the financial system in the US.
Smith reveals that Secret Service closely monitors bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies transactions on the blockchain, adding: “When you follow a digital currency wallet, it’s no different than an email address that has some correlating identifiers.”
The Secret Service shows that since 2015 more than $102 million in cryptocurrencies has been seized from offenders in connection with 254 cases of fraud. And in relation to it, Smith adds that: “One of the things about cryptocurrency is it moves money at a faster pace than the traditional format…”, emphasising that the speed of crypto transactions makes digital coins attractive for customers, as well as fraudsters.
Later, Smith describes how a suspected illegal activity is further inquired into, saying: “… something bad on an email, I know there’s some criminal activity associated with that email address, I can deconstruct, find whatever tidbits of information that you used when you initially logged in or signed up for that email address.”
Smith also revealed that more and more criminals are found to convert misappropriated cryptocurrencies into stablecoins, explaining that it's human nature to be afraid of volatility and other risks associated with major coins like BTC and ETH.