The deputy attorney general of the U.S. said Tuesday that the government is working on a "comprehensive strategy" around cryptocurrencies.
Rod Rosenstein spoke at the Financial Services Roundtable's spring conference this week and, during a question-and-answer session, he was asked about his views on cryptocurrency and cybercrime. Amid his remarks, he referred to a new cybercrime task force unveiled last week by the Justice Department that will develop a strategy around crimes involving the tech.
"A lot of these schemes involve bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which do not flow through the traditional financial system," he remarked. "What we're working on now with our cybercrime task force is a working on a comprehensive strategy to deal with that."
The task force features representatives from a range of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Agency, among others.
Rosenstein also notably dispelled the idea that cryptocurrencies are fully anonymous – they are, rather, pseudonymous – and remarked that the laundering process leaves clues for federal investigators to follow to the source.
Rosenstein said at the event:
"We all know there are ways to trace criminal activity. Generally speaking, it's not just about cyberactivity, there will be other ways that people will leave trails. Ultimately, even when dealing with cybercurrency, they're going to want to convert, launder it into physical currency, and so there are ways to trace these operations."
A key element of the Justice Department's efforts, he said, is educating federal officials on how the technology works and the strategies for following such digital trails.
"One of the challenges we have in law enforcement is making sure our employees are fully skilled, so that's one of our challenges, to make sure we have the agents and the prosecutors with the skills and the expertise," he explained, going on to conclude:
"Because the criminals will always be one step ahead."
Justice Department image via Shutterstock