The United States Secret Service has made surprising revelations during a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit, showcasing its ownership of cryptocurrency, possession of a little-known NFT collection, and appreciation for blockchain technology in fighting financial crime.
The AMA, held on May 15, featured representatives from the Secret Service’s San Francisco Field Office and the Bay Area Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT) engaging with members of the subreddit r/cryptocurrency.
Contrary to the skepticism of some regulators, the REACT task force commended the public and transparent nature of blockchains, highlighting their potential as an “amazing opportunity” for law enforcement to trace the flow of money and combat criminal activities.
The Secret Service has previously emphasized the blockchain’s immutability as a crucial factor in monitoring and tracking illicit financial activities. Recent events, such as an upcoming Bitfinex story featured on Netflix, have underscored the challenges of using blockchain for money laundering.
Responding to a question about concealing illicit behavior on the blockchain, the Secret Service recommended that those seeking to engage in dubious financial activities would be better off using cash instead of crypto.
Intriguingly, when asked whether the Secret Service held cryptocurrency, the agency confirmed that they were “definitely holders of crypto” and identified themselves as crypto “enthusiasts” in subsequent responses. Owning cryptocurrency allows them to gain deeper insights into the inner workings of the crypto world.
The agency humorously acknowledged the need for simplified explanations in their line of work, stating, “Pretty much most cases require a certain level of ELI5’ing. It’s somewhat of a running joke around here.” The acronym “ELI5” refers to the popular subreddit r/explainlikeimfive.
Regarding the comparison between crypto crimes and illicit activities in traditional finance, the Secret Service revealed that the “vast majority” of their calls and reports involve crypto in some manner. They noted that crypto transactions differ significantly from fiat investigations due to their irreversibility and immutability.
Although the AMA primarily addressed serious inquiries, there was a lighthearted moment when a Redditor asked if the Secret Service would consider launching its own “memecoin.” The agency responded by promoting its NFT collection on OpenSea.