The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created a Blockchain Working Group to identify and target fraudulent schemes which affect the FTC’s consumer protection and competition missions, according to a blog post published on the agency’s website March 16.
According to FTC Acting Chief Technologist Neil Chilson, the internal Blockchain Working Group intends to combine expertise and practices on one platform which will coordinate efforts in countering fraud in Blockchain and cryptocurrency-related fields.
The group has “at least” three goals; building “FTC staff expertise in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology through resource sharing and by hosting outside experts”, assistance in “internal communication and external coordination on enforcement actions”, and providing a forum for discussing potential influences on the FTC’s objectives and how to respond them.
“We believe this working group is an important step to ensure the FTC can continue its missions to protect consumers and promote competition in light of cryptocurrency and blockchain developments,” Neil Chilson wrote.
The move follows a lawsuit brought by the FTC against four individuals who used Bitcoin in one or more fraudulent chain referral schemes. “I expect that fraudsters will repurpose old schemes to capitalize on the current glamour and mystery of cryptocurrency,” Chilson wrote.
The FTC is not new to Blockchain and cryptocurrency-related affairs. In June 2015, the agency filed a cryptocurrency-related lawsuit over an app developer who hijacked consumers’ phones to mine cryptocurrency.
In 2016, it brought a case against Butterfly Labs, operators of Bitcoin mining operations, for deceiving its consumers about the availability, profitability, and newness of mining machines. In March 2017, the FTC also held a public forum on Blockchain technology.
Blockchain has established itself as one of the most important contemporary technological achievements, and has become recognized for its importance and potential both by business and some government entities.
Earlier this month, the US State Department and Coca-Cola, in association with three other companies, announced the launch of a Blockchain-based project to fight forced labor. In Puerto Rico, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) plans to form an advisory council to promote Blockchain use for businesses.