Bitcoin just received a strong vote of confidence from an unlikely source, a former acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In so doing, he put senior government officials who issue public warnings about bitcoin’s alleged use by criminals, such as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on notice.
Michael Morell, a 33-year veteran of the agency, published an independent paper commissioned by the newly formed lobbying group Crypto Council for Innovation (whose founding members include Coinbase, Fidelity Digital Assets, and Square) directly refuting this well-traveled narrative. In an expansive study, Morell came to two key conclusions:The broad generalizations about the use of bitcoin in illicit finance are significantly overstated. Blockchain analysis is a highly effective crime fighting and intelligence gathering tool.
But that is not all. In speaking with Forbes before the paper’s release, Morell made it clear that there will also be severe geopolitical repercussions for the U.S. vis-a-vis China if it wastes energy and resources chasing a ghost as opposed to leveraging blockchain, and fintech more generally, to build the country’s technological and economic base. Specifically, he said that “we need to make sure that the conventional wisdom that is wrong about the illicit use of Bitcoin doesn't hold us back from pushing forward the technological changes that are going to allow us to keep pace with China.”Michael J. Morrell testifies before a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 2, 2014 (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ASSOCIATED PRESS
Setting the Record Straight
When he began this study, Morell would be the first to tell you that he did not expect to reach these conclusions. ...