At least one company has pocketed nearly $20m from US government agencies, as authorities look to track down cryptocurrency users in the States.
Given that a reduction in formal state interference is one of the appeals for many to cryptocurrency, it’s perhaps not surprising that the state itself should take a very different view. In fact, in the United States of America, it seems that cryptocurrency is proving to be catnip for the government.
Diar, a research firm, has uncovered statistics that suggest a mixture of American government agencies have, between them, spent some $5.7m on contractors, who are then tasked with trying to find out how much cryptocurrency certain individuals have. The contractors concerned do this by examining blockchain records where possible. Some manage to remain anonymous, but it looks like many do not.
The Diar report concludes that the biggest investor in the aforementioned contractors is the IRS (internal revenue service), which has nine different contracts with agencies, to presumably investigate if people are squirrelling away funds they should be paying tax on. Other agencies who have also spent over $1m are the FBI, and the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency.
The numbers are small fry, granted, in the broader scheme of American government spending, and under $6m is spare change down the back of the proverbial sofa. However, spend has doubled since the start of the year, and it’s not hard to conclude that the trend will continue upwards, and at speed.
Chainanalysis, this far, is the blockchain investigations company that has benefited the most from US government spending, taking just north of $17.5m of contracts (not all of which are directly related to tracking down cryptocurrency users). It, and many others, will presumably be bracing themselves for more attractive paydays ahead.