Diane Abbott voices Labour concerns over Bitcoin’s ‘gigantic Ponzi scheme’

Written by Emilio Casalicchio on 6 March 2018 in News
News

Shadow home secretary suggests party would look to better regulate cryptocurrency

 

Credit: BBC Daily Politics

The Shadow Home Secretary said the party was concerned about terrorists and criminals using cryptocurrencies to fund their illicit activities and duck the law.

Fears have emerged that Bitcoin and other digital currencies like it could become the capital of choice for jihadist groups, money launderers and other offenders keen to stay below the radar. Drugs, weapons and child pornography are all said to be available in exchange for crypto cash using the so-called Dark Web.

Meanwhile, the WannaCry ransomware attack that hit the NHS last May offered to free machines for a fee paid in the currency.

Abbott (pictured above) revealed that Labour was looking into the movement of funds using Bitcoin and their possible links to criminality in an interview with The House magazine.


Related content


She said: “One of the problems with Bitcoin is the extent to which it is just a gigantic Ponzi scheme... If everyone took their Bitcoin money and tried to buy a new car all at once the whole thing would collapse.”

She added: “But we are certainly worried about how in the here and now it is being used to fund terrorist activity and that is something we are looking at.”

Abbott said Labour would impose regulations on digital currencies the way Jeremy Corbyn vowed to curb the power of financial services last month.

“Labour overall thinks it’s important to have proper regulation of financial services,” she said. “It was poor regulation of financial services which led to the 2008 crash and obviously regulating Bitcoin would be part of that.”

The Government has announced its own plans to crack down on Bitcoin by forcing trading exchanges to disclose the identities of their users and report suspicious activity.

A Treasury spokesman said last year: "We intend to update regulation to bring virtual currency exchange platforms into anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist-financing regulation.”

 

About the author

Emilio Casalicchio is chief reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Cyber national security: how the UK has prepared itself for major attacks
6 July 2020

We are approaching the fourth anniversary of the foundation of the NCSC and the threats it was created to respond to loom larger than ever. PublicTechnology examines the growth of the UK’...

Government declines to set date for contact-tracing app
8 July 2020

Head of Test and Trace programme Baroness Harding says she does not want to specify a timeframe as projects often do not ‘run in a smooth way’

How Brexit Britain could become a surveillance state
8 July 2020

The UK has tended to only introduce data-protection laws in conjunction with EU legislation and, according to Ray Walsh from ProPrivacy, the post-Brexit world may see the country prioritise...

How big is the UK’s cyber skills gap?
7 July 2020

A major government-commissioned study found that about half of UK organisations are lacking basic security skills. PublicTechnology talks to the researchers behind it to find out where...

Related Sponsored Articles

Interview: CyberArk EMEA chief on how government has become a security leader
29 May 2020

PublicTechnology talks to Rich Turner about why organisations need to adopt a ‘risk-based approach’ to security – but first make sure they get the basics right