Bank of America CTO Says Bitcoin Is "Troubling"

Jordana Sacks
  • According to the Bank of America’s Cathy Bessant, the use of bitcoin and other virtual currencies as payment systems is ‘troubling’.
  • The tech officer has warned that customers will not be able to use the bank’s credit cards to purchase crypto anytime soon.

Bank of America official Cathy Bessant recently released a statement explaining the institution’s views on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Claiming virtual currencies are impeding the ability of the authorities to catch ‘bad guys’, she posited that such payment systems are frequently being used for nefarious purposes.

Addressing one of the key criticisms of bitcoin and other cryptos, the chief technical officer explained that it was important to understand the differences between the main ways in which digital currencies are used:

“As a payment system, I think it’s troubling, because the foundation of the banking system is on the transparency between the sender and the receiver, and the cryptocurrency is designed to be nothing of the sort. In fact, [it’s] designed to be not transparent.”

Cathy Bessant

She added that this made it more difficult to police cyberspace and the transactions that take place there. Per the CTO’s words, the way financial institutions ‘catch the bad guys’ is through transparency “in the financial moment of money,” something she says cryptocurrencies are the antithesis of.

Although the organization's stance does not prohibit its customers from investing in bitcoin, it does mean that the credit cards they issue cannot be used to speculate in the crypto space.

Speaking on this decision, Ms. Bessant said:

“Just like we don’t allow stocks to be purchased on our credit cards, we’re not going to allow cryptos or other currencies to be purchased on our credit cards.”

Cathy Bessant

The tech officer added that such a move was in line with the bank’s constant drive to improve its security. This is a goal it believes it’s doing an admirable job of achieving, despite the fact that the on-going perception of certain data thieves as modern-day Robin Hoods can be problematic:

As an example, she used WikiLeaks. She said:

“Often times the hacker or the person who causes the leak and steals the data are considered heroic. We put Julian Assange on the cover of a magazine and call him person of the year, and yet WikiLeaks is in the business of stealing data.”

Cathy Bessant


Hamas' Military Wing Asks Supporters for Bitcoin Donations, Again

Francisco Memoria

The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of an organization designated as a terrorist group in Europe and the United States currently in control of the Gaza Strip, Hamas, have recently called on supporters for Bitcoin donations.

According to the Israel National News, the group has asked for cryptocurrency donations through a special page on its website that asked supporters for BTC to “Support the Resistance,” in a campaign that sees it state there’s a duty to “support jihad because Jerusalem is an integral part of the Islamic faith.”

This is notably not the first time the group asks its supporters for donations in the flagship cryptocurrency. Back in January, CryptoGlobe reported that a Hamas spokesperson, Abu Obeida, asked supporters for BTC via Instagram, in a post that read:

The Zionist enemy fights the Palestinian resistance by trying to cut aid to the resistance by all means, but lovers of resistance around the world fight these Zionist attempts and seek all possible means to aid the resistance.

The group has reportedly been looking to raise funds via cryptocurrency as it has faced financial woes in the last few years, as banks throughout the world have been distancing themselves from the organization. Hamas’ representative blamed Israel for its current situation earlier this year.

Hamas Tried To Raise Funds Through Coinbase

As reported, Israel-based blockchain intelligence startup Whitestream tracked down two bitcoin donations the cash-strapped group received after the January plea. Per Whitestream, Hamas’ address showed the group was using Coinbase, and received “two relatively small bitcoin donations” amounting to “only $2,500.”

These are said to have come from a bitcoin trader in Khan Yunes, a small town located in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, at the time, published two bitcoin addresses to receive funds, and the Israeli-based firm believes it had to do so after Coinbase blocked the first one.

Notably, the group’s military wing is asking for donations shortly after a Gaza rocket hit a home in central Israel, according to the BBC.