The history of Bitcoin – which only spans around nine years – has seen its fair share of controversy, allegations, and governmental opposition. Regulators from all over the world have told the public Bitcoin is not to be trusted and is merely a tool for criminals in both the real world and on the internet. Considering most of these regulators also dream of a cash-free society, that is not entirely surprising. One source at the Department of Homeland Security recently gave Bitcoin one of its biggest validations to date, though.
Bitcoin is “a lot More Legitimate Than Assumed”
That was the statement provided to CNBC by an anonymous source allegedly working at the Department of Homeland Security. While it is true the DHS has never been overly negative when it comes to cryptocurrency, it was also one of the first to acknowledge that this technology could be used for illegal activity. Then again, a unit tasked with protecting the U.S. from terrorism and other types of attacks always needs to assume the worst and adjust its opinion from there on out. It appears some DHS staffers can see the good in Bitcoin at this stage.
Although we have no idea who the anonymous source in question is, it certainly goes to show not every government official is shortsighted when it comes to cryptocurrency in general. After all, there will always be those who continue to oppose any form of financial innovation, regardless of how legitimate it may be in the end. There are also those officials who do not want to understand what Bitcoin can potentially bring to the table in the first place. One does not have to like Bitcoin to see the potential it offers, though.
It is certainly true Bitcoin does not lend itself to illegal criminal activity. In fact, it is one of the worst payment methods to use in this regard. All transactions and their associated amounts are publicly visible on the blockchain in real time. While those transfers do not disclose personal information directly, it is certainly not impossible to track the money across different wallets and even exchange platforms. Additionally, there are multiple blockchain analysis service providers that will gladly help out in this regard, as even the IRS partnered with Chainalysis not too long ago.
All of this goes to show Bitcoin is used by as many different types of people as you can imagine. Indeed, its user base is a lot broader than just criminals or people with nefarious purposes. In fact, it is slowly dawning upon the DHS and other organizations how Bitcoin has far more legitimate use cases than illegal ones. Bitcoin initially gained traction thanks to its darknet activity in the early years, but it has become so much more than just that in these past five or six years. Many people now use it for regular shopping purposes, remittance solutions, and even as a way to receive international payments from employers.
Intelligence and security agencies have a fairly easy time tracking Bitcoin transactions and making arrests accordingly. Bitcoin has pseudonymous traits, just like any online nickname has. However, when it comes to cashing in on Bitcoin, you cannot avoid sharing personal information whatsoever. Even using so-called mules to receive illegally obtained Bitcoins and send them to you later on can be traced and will eventually lead to the culprit. There are many payment methods far more anonymous than Bitcoin which pose legitimate problems in this regard.
Although this validation by an anonymous DHS source will not necessarily turn Bitcoin into a fan favorite, it shows the tide is slowly changing in favor of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is no longer the niche currency so many claim it to be, but it is now an industry in its own right – a growing industry, mind you, as the level of adoption by both consumers and merchants is still a lot lower than what most enthusiasts would like to see. Given enough time, however, Bitcoin will rival most prominent companies. Its market cap is already above that of PayPal and Pepsico, just to name a few.