06 February 2016

US senators voice fears over Bitcoin link to online drugs market

09 June 2011  |  7374 views  |  0 US Coin Cash

Peer-to-peer virtual currency Bitcoin has come under fire from US senators worried it is being used to anonymously buy illegal drugs online.

Launched in 2009, Bitcoin has received a rash of publicity in recent months for its increasingly popular virtual currency which bypasses banks and clearing houses. The coins can be generated online by people running an application called a Bitcoin Miner and are then stored in the user's digital wallet and exchanged anonymously, using an electronic signature.

Last week, the currency hit the headlines after the Gawker blog network posted a story claiming it was the only way users can buy drugs on Silk Road, an online marketplace accessible through the annonymising network Tor.

Now Democratic senators Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have written to Attorney General Eric Holder and Drug Enforcement Administration head Michele Leonhart expressing their worries about both the Silk Road and Bitcoin.

The senators say they "urge you to take immediate action and shut down the Silk Road network" but this would be an extremely difficult task, prompting speculation that the site's currency, Bitcoin, could be targeted instead.

DEA spokeswoman Dawn Dearden told Reuters that the agency is concerned about Bitcoin and similar digital currencies, adding: "The DEA is constantly evaluating and analysing new technologies and schemes perpetrated by drug trafficking networks."

What is Bitcoin?

KeywordsE-COMMERCE

Comments: (0)

Comment on this story (membership required)
Log in to receive notifications when someone posts a comment

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board, sign up now.

Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)

Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
Fintech rising: Resistance is futile, says...
9561 views comments | 47 tweets | 38 linkedin
Digital transformation driving earnings at...
8359 views comments | 41 tweets | 35 linkedin
ECB eyes up European P2P payments
7462 views comments | 27 tweets | 37 linkedin
Visa opens up to developers
6366 views comments | 23 tweets | 40 linkedin
Mondo releases API to let customers play w...
5784 views comments | 23 tweets | 21 linkedin

Featured job

Find your next job