But cryptocurrency operates outside the US-led financial system – so these nations can operate entire economies underneath the radar. A report by cybercrime experts Yaya Fanusie and Trevor Logan for the US Foundation for Defence of Democracies Center (FDD) outlines how these states “envision a world in which cryptocurrency technology helps them eclipse US financial power”. It adds: “Washington, therefore, must understand the benefits and threats posed by new financial technologies, maintain the integrity of global finance, and cultivate the expertise and influence to lead in what is becoming an international crypto race.”
The report outlines how sanctioned Russian banks are developing blockchain networks, Iran is investing in multiple blockchain projects, and China aims to develop its own digital currency.
Chillingly, a Russian intelligence officer told a tech conference in 2017: “The internet belongs to the Americans — but blockchain will belong to us.”
A form of digital cash, cryptocurrency uses encryption to secure transactions and control the creation of new units.
The most well-known is bitcoin but more and more spring up all the time.
It uses cryptography, a form of secret coding originating from the Second World War, to process transactions securely.
Its major appeal is it is independence from established financial systems.
Crypto can be moved quickly and easily across borders, making it attractive to cybercriminals.
Terror groups and the shadowy extremists who sponsor them often use cryptocurrency because it is incredibly hard to trace.
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