What Happened: The U.S. State Department has added cryptocurrency as a payment option for informants who would identify national security threats.
According to a report from CNN, the State Department has set aside up to $10 million in its Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program as a bounty for providing information on state-backed hackers and cybercriminals.
Informants could opt to receive these rewards in the form of cryptocurrency for the first time in the program’s forty-year history.
“Within our program, there’s a tremendous amount of enthusiasm because we’re really pushing the envelope every chance we get to try and reach audiences, sources, people who may have information that helps improve our national security,” said a State Department official.
“It’s been edgy for some government agencies, perhaps, but we’re going to keep pushing forward in many different ways.”
In order to send the government tips through the Dark Web, potential informants need to use the Tor browser and access the RFJ channel.
Officials have reportedly already received anonymous tips about malicious cyber actors on this channel in the weeks since it opened up.
“It is inconceivable that the government has not used cryptocurrency to paid undercover informants or sources[sic],” said Erez Liebermann, a former Department of Justice cybercrimes prosecutor.
However, with the ease and efficiency associated with cryptocurrency transactions, along with the added benefit of anonymity, officials expect that more crypto rewards programs will be introduced in the future.
“This program is evolving,” one official said. “I think this offer of cryptocurrency is something that we will be using in the future for other types of rewards. It could encourage other types of sources to come to us with information, who may not have wanted to come to us before.”
Price Action: At press time, the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin (CRYPTO: BTC) was trading at a price of $45,267, losing 1.8% of its value over the past 24-hours.
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