FCA to Spend £500,000 on “Crypto Terrorism” Training

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  • The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is asking crypto experts to train its staff on the risks faced by “financial terrorism.”
  • The watchdog has dedicated a £500,000 ($670,000) fund to onboarding crypto experts.
  • Crypto-related ransomware attacks have been making headlines recently.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is asking crypto experts to train its staff on the finance terrorism and money laundering perils associated with the crypto industry.

Following concerns that digital assets are increasingly being used to launder money, the UK’s top financial watchdog dedicated a £500,000 ($670,000) fund to onboarding crypto experts or consultants to train the regulatory body’s staff on risks associated with the emerging crypto industry.

According to a position announcement, the FCA needs experts to cooperate with the regulatory body in approving and registering firms that are involved in cryptocurrency activities and to make sure they comply with the money laundering and finance terrorism regulations. The watchdog said:

The FCA is seeking the services to support the analysis of cryptoasset blockchain data. The FCA is seeking the services of a third-party firm specializing in this area who can provide access to a platform that can support the robust and efficient analysis of cryptoasset blockchain data and provide training and ongoing support in the use of this platform.

An Uptick in Crypto-Related Ransomware Attacks

The recent announcement by the FCA comes at a time when crypto-related ransomware attacks are picking up steam. Just recently, an investigation revealed that far-right groups are raising millions worth of digital assets using Bitcoin and privacy coins like Monero.

Andrew Anglin, founder of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, is one of the main beneficiaries receiving crypto donations. According to Associated Press (AP), Anglin has received more than 112 Bitcoin (worth more than $6 million at current rates) since January 2017.

Meanwhile, some crypto-related ransomware attacks in the US have caused great trouble for the country. For instance, ransomware attacks against Colonial Pipeline in May took out much of the East Coast’s oil and gas supply. The company paid a multi-million dollar in ransom, though the FBI managed to recover some of the funds later.

Similarly, ransomware attacks targeted the meat processing company JBS and took out meat plants nationwide. While the company has not disclosed whether or not it has paid a ransom, the majority believe it has paid ransom via crypto assets.

All of these prompted the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to elevate ransomware attacks to a similar priority level as terrorism. As per a report by Reuters, US attorney’s offices are required to cooperate with ransomware investigations with a “recently created task force in Washington.”