The recent indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers by the team of Special Counsel Robert Muller has been dominating headlines.
The officers are charged with hacking the computer networks of some staffers on the Hillary Clinton campaign, people involved with the Democratic National Committee, and people involved with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said President Donald Trump was aware of the indictment. President Trump is soon set to meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Helsinki, Finland.
The 12 allegedly worked together to publish information under the names “DCLeaks” and “Guccifer 2.0”. But Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein mentioned to reports how it was unclear if their endeavors actually affected the election’s outcome.
Hackers Tried to Use Crypto To Hide
The hackers chose to buy Bitcoin to try and stay hidden. They used the digital currency to buy things like servers in an attempt to cover their tracks. Additional charges of money-laundering are on the table since their scheme was uncovered.
This attracted the attention of a U.S. Congressman who took to Twitter to express his concern.
-12 Russian GRU officials
-Used Bitcoin to pay for servers etc
-targeted DCCC, DNC, and HRC
-Released emails under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0
– Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) July 13, 2018
Including a tweet by Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff, Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) called on the cryptocurrency to “step up their game” since “we know Russia used #cryptocurrency to fund their meddling campaign in 2016.”
I’ve been warning of the potential dangers of @Bitcoin being used by nefarious actors. Now, we know Russia used #cryptocurrency to fund their meddling campaign in 2016. The #crypto industry needs to step their game up. @blockchain @BTCFoundation @DigitalChamber
– Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) July 13, 2018
In the Tweet, Representative Cleaver mentioned the Bitcoin Foundation, the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and the account for blockchain.com.
Concerns About Cryptocurrency And Extremism
Representative Cleaver has spoken out about cryptocurrency in the past. He sent letters to the Bitcoin Foundation and the Chamber of Digital Commerce on February 8th 2018, imploring both entities to “do more in efforts to prevent extremist groups from using cryptocurrency to fund campaigns of hate and violence.”
In a press release, Representative Cleaver noted how cryptocurrency has the potential to be influential in finance, but said people must be diligent in ensuring the technology could not be used to support “groups that wage campaigns of hate, abuse, anti-Semitism, discrimination, or violence.”
Representative Cleaver specifically said “hateful or violent extremists” have started to turn to virtual currencies, and mentioned how he was ready to work with the Bitcoin Foundation and the Chamber for Digital Commerce to “eliminate bigoted organizations from fundraising on their platforms.”
The Congressman noted how he does not think the potential for cryptocurrency should be stifled, but hoped the Bitcoin community would “look to seriously address any vulnerability that provides assistance to dangerous elements on crypto-platforms.”
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Executive Director, Llew Classen, responded to Representative Cleaver’s letter on May 1st. In the letter, Classen pointed out how Bitcoin “is used for many legitimate purposes” and cited how leading companies like Overstock and Expedia were accepting the virtual currency as payment.
Additionally, Classen wrote how the Foundation has “no knowledge” of how “successful” hate groups have been in using virtual currency to fundraise in comparison to traditional methods. They said “this kind of research” is not part of their mission.