FBI Agent At Crypto Evolved Conference Confirms 130 Active Investigations Tied To Cryptocurrency
Kyle Armstrong, a supervisory special agent with the FBI, recently took the time to speak at the Crypto Evolved conference in New York on June 27th. The conference focuses on institutional trading, and financial market experts were invited to talk about the recent trends in the market, along with technologies that will usher in the future. However, Armstrong took a different approach.
Armstrong was invited for his role with the FBI, and for his management of the agency’s Virtual Currency initiative, which deals primarily with money laundering activities. During his speech, he spoke about the collection of 130 cases that have involvement with cryptocurrency. Though most people would assume that this industry would only be victimized for fraud and hackers, these investigations are tied to serious crimes, like human trafficking, drug sales, and ransomware attacks.
Cryptocurrency has been involved in these crimes, with the agency seeing a dramatic rise in illegal activity with relation to digital currency payments. The lack of regulation in the field and the ability to conceal funds with private keys makes it the perfect way to protect transactions during these offences. Armstrong noted,
“There are thousands of cases in the bureau, so it is a small sliver at this point.”
One of the big ways that the FBI has seen cryptocurrency play a role is with the opioid epidemic. With the use of the dark web and crypto transactions, there’s been many more drug abuse cases coming to like.
At least 10% of drug users around the world use illegal online marketplaces like the dark web, which is why the FBI has an entire initiative dedicated to eliminating their threat. Along with drug concerns, there are also investigations regarding extortion with the use of digital assets and virtual currency.
The FBI maintains a neutral view of digital tokens, acknowledging that it is beneficial to many people in ways that are not tied to crimes. In their investigations, the blockchain technology helps them to easily track the flow of funds in a way that they cannot do with cash. However, by making these transactions anonymous, some of their leads are difficult to pursue.
Armstrong has been with the FBI since 2008. He has a degree in criminology from Ohio State University, and a degree in law from DePaul University College of Law.