If there was an award for the organization least likely to be talking about the world of crypto and NFTs, it would probably go to the Secret Service — the people tasked with protecting the nation’s leaders and visiting heads of state.
But on May 15, members of the U.S. Secret Service’s San Francisco Field Office, alongside the Bay Area’s Regional Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT), did exactly that, making themselves available for questions from the r/cryptocurrency subreddit community during an Ask Me Anything (AMA).
The picture starts to make more sense when you realize that the Secret Service is also responsible for safeguarding the nation’s financial infrastructure. Given blockchain’s ability to help enable actors to circumvent sanctions and otherwise wreak financial havoc on even the most seasoned Web3 user, the security organization was always going to have a distinct interest in the crypto universe. While regulatory bodies in the United States may be struggling to catch up to the innovational capabilities of crypto and NFTs, its criminal enforcement institutions are far from behind the curve.
Here’s what we learned from the AMA.
The Secret Service tells (almost) all
The two agencies answered dozens of questions from Reddit users that provided insight into how their teams approach the world of Web3 from a security standpoint (as well as showcasing the teams’ sense of humor). Despite Web3’s infamous reputation for scams and fraud, the REACT team praised the blockchain’s transparent and immutable nature, citing those qualities as tools in the fight to track the flow of funds directed toward illegal activities.
Other questions addressed whether or not employees in the U.S. government were well educated in all things crypto, to which the REACT task force responded by saying, “It’s fair to say that blockchain technology is not widely understood,” further citing that lack of mainstream understanding of crypto as the reasoning behind doing the AMA.
Such efforts by law enforcement to educate the public are ongoing. In February 2022, the Secret Service launched the Cryptocurrency Awareness Hub, which features information on the agency’s latest work in fighting the illegal use of blockchain technologies in an effort to spread public awareness of digital asset security.
When asked if team members of either organization own crypto, the Secret Service responded by saying, “We’re definitely hodlers of crypto. Sometimes to understand the mechanics of particular assets or blockchains, you have to get hands-on and perform some of your own transactions.”
Intriguingly, when jokingly asked about when the Secret Service would launch a meme coin, the agency responded by linking to its very own nine-piece NFT collection on OpenSea. The collection features a faceless 3D agent character in a black suit and tie in various action scenes and poses.
The entire AMA is well worth a read. One Reddit user even asked the teams when they were going to tell them about “the aliens,” to which the Secret Service replied, “Full report being released on,” and left it at that. Well played, Secret Service.