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Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee today, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. Department of Justice “is committed to innovating alongside this new technology in order to ensure investigations are not impeded by any improvement in criminals’ ability to move funds anonymously.”

According to Bloomberg, Holder’s department has been increasingly focused on the use of virtual currencies to mask illegal transactions, and told the House committee that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “can pose challenges for law enforcement given the appeal that they have among those seeking to conceal illegal activity.”

The DoJ has gotten a crash course in virtual currency crime this year, with cases of bitcoin-related crimes on the rise and the high-profile case against accused Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht grabbing national headlines. Holder seems well aware of the challenges law-enforcement bodies face, stating: “As virtual currency systems develop, it will be imperative to law enforcement interests that those systems comply with applicable anti-money laundering statutes and know-your-customer controls.”

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