Secret Service Says Owning Crypto Not Inherently “Criminal”

( The federal government has been working hard at trying to combat the use of cryptocurrency in various illicit acts, and the U.S. Secret Service has taken that effort to new heights recently.

Late last week, the agency announced that it would be launching a new online awareness hub for cryptocurrency. Its goal is to be a platform that will educate people on cryptocurrency and also aid the Secret Service in the efforts it puts forth to stop the illicit use of these digital assets.

The agency said this new initiative will seek “to provide public awareness information on digital asset security … [the agency intends to] continue to expand its capabilities, collaboration and effectiveness related to all financial crimes investigations.”

One thing that the agency pointed out in its announced is that cryptocurrency is “not inherently criminal.” That’s an important distinction to make as cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream and accepted as not only a form of payment around the world but a solid investment as well.

As the agency noted:

“Cryptocurrencies continue to become more popular forms of payment,” so the agency “must also remain at the forefront of both educating the public and combating financial fraud.”

That being said, the Secret Service was quick to note that cryptocurrency does provide “new opportunities for those seeking to commit fraud or otherwise conceal further illegal activities.”

As the Secret Service’s assistant director of the Office of Investigations, Jeremy Sheridan, commented:

“Our obligation to enforce crimes against the nation’s financial systems includes both informing the public on how digital assets work and partnering with them to identify, arrest and prosecute those engaging in crimes involving digital assets.”

To that end, the new hub provides definitions to some of the basic terms related to cryptocurrency. This includes an explanation of what Bitcoin is, as well as blockchain technology, which fuels various cryptocurrencies. There is also an explanation on how Bitcoin differs from stablecoins and altcoins.

The site will also provide direct links to previous news the agency has released regarding digital assets.

This is the latest push by the U.S. Secret Service to crack down on the illicit use of cryptocurrency. The agency created the Cyber Fraud Task Force in July of 2020.

When that happened, its cyber policy advisor, Jonah Force, said that the increase in cybercrimes “is not a specific cryptocurrency issue.” He continued:

“How the crime was committed, via crypto or not, or what form of money was stolen, is often irrelevant to the prosecution and therefore not quantified for statistical purposes.”

To take that a step further, the U.S. Secret Service included many criminals who were allegedly tied to cryptocurrency in their list of “Most Wanted Fugitives.”

But, as the agency said, not all cryptocurrency is used for illicit purposes. In fact, only 0.15% of all cryptocurrency transactions in 2021 were for criminal purposes, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm.

That’s despite the fact that cryptocurrency crimes reached a new high last year, totaling $14 billion.