Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs, Warns on Crypto Use for Terrorist Financing

Cryptocurrency involvement in terror financing was highlighted in the recently concluded Melbourne counter-terror conference. Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, noted that terrorists had shifted to digital assets to fund their activities anonymously.

The conference took place on Nov. 7th and Dutton took the opportunity to highlight the looming danger if proper crypto regulations are not put in place.

According to the Minister, the ease of storing digital currencies in online escrows and cards makes it very simple for terrorists to evade scrutinization;

“The anonymity afforded by such technologies enables terrorist financiers to obfuscate their activities.”

In addition, crowd funding activities such as ICO’s have facilitated the integration of illegal funds into the financial system. Dutton who is in charge of law enforcement, domestic security, and border control pointed out the need for governments across the world to implement the best AML/KYC oversight. This will, in turn, help them curb out the terror funding channels supported by modern technology.

Besides crypto and blockchain, Dutton said that Not-for-profit and charity organizations have been looped into the terror funding cycle. He further noted that some of them were unaware that they operate as avenues for funding terrorism. The Minister however has his fair share of critics in Australia especially for being in opposition of a bill meant to correct medevac laws.

He said that crypto coins might be the next frontier in the war against terrorism while speaking at the Annual Counter-Terrorism Conference held in September.

Dutton’s sentiments are shared with other key figures like Sigal Mandelker, the U.S Treasury Undersecretary.

She said:

“Terrorist organizations and their supporters and sympathizers are constantly looking for new ways to raise and transfer funds without detection or tracking by law enforcement.  While most terrorist groups still primarily rely on the traditional financial system and cash to transfer funds, without the appropriate strong safeguards cryptocurrencies could become the next frontier.”

The Philippine Central Bank also took a similar position and made it clear that the BSP will keep an eye on crypto use within the country’s financial ecosystem. They have been keen on AML and KYC frameworks since 2017 with digital exchanges having to register as transfer firms.

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