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Can Cryptocurrency Sabotage US Elections?

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According to a report by NewsBTC, a U.S. Senate subcommittee gathered final week to look at whether or not or not cryptocurrencies like bitcoin may very well be used to unduly affect future elections. The assembly occurred concurrent with major elections which that place in a number of states and within the midst of ongoing investigations into the potential involvement of Russia within the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Whereas there was a lot speak about how cryptocurrency may very well be utilized for money laundering, fraud and different nefarious actions by criminals, the idea of digital currencies influencing elections has been less prominent up to this point.

Cryptocurrency as Software of Affect

The Senate committee gathered to listen to about how digital currencies may doubtlessly be utilized by unhealthy actors to buy affect in an analogous method that lobbyists would possibly. Due to its decentralized and nameless construction, cryptocurrency is sort of tailored to such nefarious schemes. Talking earlier than the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, cybersecurity marketing consultant Scott Duewke defined that “international events, state actors and, doubtlessly, others curious about affecting U.S. political processes want anonymity,” and that digital currencies may present that.

Senators appeared to reach at a common consensus that virtual currencies weren’t as accessible in the course of the 2016 presidential election. Nonetheless, at the moment, cryptocurrency “needs to be thought-about a doubtlessly formidable weapon within the arsenal of these wishing to confuse voters or disrupt the vote.”

Particular person Assaults, Shell Corporations

Members of the subcommittee expressed concern about each particular person attackers in addition to shell companies that may very well be created with a purpose to achieve affect and finally affect American elections. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, informed the members of the subcommittee that “Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs can use the very same ways that American particular pursuits use to spend nameless cash in our elections and safe affect.”

The subcommittee assembly additionally takes place following a discovering by College of Wisconsin journalism professor Mie Kim exhibiting that Fb Inc. (FB) ran roughly 5 million sponsored commercials with political content material main as much as the 2016 election. Kim studied a pattern group of 50,000 advertisements, discovering that one out of six had possible hyperlinks to the Russian-based propaganda group known as the Web Analysis Company. On the time, operatives operating these advertisements used PayPal and pretend IDs. Now, with cryptocurrencies, far more well-liked and accessible than they have been even 18 months in the past, it is possible that these actors would have turned to digital forex funds as a substitute.

In the meanwhile, it is unclear if and the way the Senate subcommittee will take motion to guard the autonomy of U.S. elections. Nonetheless, the assembly helps as an example the federal government might have an curiosity within the regulation of digital currencies past its efforts to stop cash laundering and securities fraud.

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