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CIP: New Gov-Program To Monitor Money-Smuggling Via Crypto Channels

March 3, 2020
Ross Peili

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CIP: New Gov-Program To Monitor Money-Smuggling Via Crypto Channels

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) proposed what they call a “Cryptocurrency Intelligence Program” (CIP) in their recent FY 2021 budget proposal, and it seems that it shall be utilized in every crypto-related Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) from  2021 and on. 

Al Giangregorio, chief at the HSI’s National Bulk Cash Smuggling Center (BCSC) said that the program will help HSI agents in tracking and better-understanding cryptocurrency transactions and transits in the customs level.  However, details regarding what exactly the program involves or how it would work in an operative example were not disclosed. 

“The CIP supports any HSI investigation involving virtual currency or blockchain technology,” Giangregorio said. “The program has assisted diverse investigations, including those involving methamphetamine and MDMA dealers, human trafficking, elder fraud, darknet market drug vendors, child sexual exploitation sites, and, of course, trafficking in opioids.”Giangregorio said to CoinDesk via an email. 

In our previous article, we talked about how deep the SEC has gotten into crypto, and it’s definitely not the only government agency to do so.






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Understanding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology might have been a pain-in-the-arse to absorb in its entirety by the state-backed power-brokers, yet they have come to a point were cryptos are not only subjected to existing or new regulations, but they are now 100% monitored and can be tracked to their respective users in an autonomous fashion. 

All that for the sake of safety, security, and law preservation. Decentralized or not, it doesn’t really matter as the technopolitical hierarchy ends up with the traditional rulers of the already established system. You can use masking services such as bestmixer, or even anonymity cryptos such as Monero (XMR), and again you will be tracked down and answer to your actions as captured by a chain of sophisticated digital watchdogs ordered by the traditional regime. 

In CIP’s case, the project was initially proposed by the BSCS, a Vermont-based homeland security authority that came into play during the infamous 9/11. At that time, the 2011 Patriot act criminalized international cash smuggling and financial crimes, which helped BCSC to push ICE in helping HSI agents track malicious actors in the US. 

BCSC says that cryptocurrencies were not a threat when the company incorporated back in 2009, but it appears nowadays that a big portion of digital money laundering and other financial cybercrime involve cryptocurrencies at some extent, hence analogous regulations should be in play.   

Giagregorio adds that over time, the BCSC has recognized that transnational criminal organizations have evolved and diversified the way they transfer illicit proceeds, and therefore HSI’s cash-smiggling-focused operations had to upscale to modern times.   

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“The BCSC established the CIP to adapt to changing methodologies and technology to target money laundering related to all types of criminal activity.”

While the budget proposal describes CIP as an unlicensed money service, a business identifier that crawls across illicit crypto broker hotspots, peer-to-peer sites, darknet markets and more to gather intel, it is unknown how much money the program really gets from the government.  

A previous investigation by CoinDesk showcased that at some point over $2,6mn were mentioned in contracts between BCSC and Chainalysis, a blockchain company during 2017 and 2019.