President of the United States Donald Trump might have asserted throughout his tenure that he did not “collude with Russia” and that the entire election process was just and fair. However, ever since Special Counsel Robert Mueller decided to investigate the messy business, it has become clear that the Russians certainly had some part to play in the eventual outcome of the elections, and it is a single technological marvel that has helped the Counsel confirm his findings: Bitcoin.
According to Mueller’s final report on the ongoing investigation, Russian operatives relied on cryptocurrency transactions at almost every stage of their titanic effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential elections. For starters, the very system used for hacking into the Democratic Party servers were paid for via Bitcoin. As the ensuing scandal from the leaked emails goes to show, this was certainly a huge blow to the Democrats.
Furthermore, online hosting services that were used to prop up the websites containing hacking materials and those used in spreading disinformation among the American voters were also purchased via Bitcoin, which eventually influenced the entire electoral process.
Clearly, the Russians were banking on the anonymity of cryptocurrencies in order to stay under the investigative radar. However, since Bitcoin wallets are ultimately tied to email addresses, the investigators were able to access some of the involved email accounts and trace the transactions.
From there on, Mueller’s investigation brought key pieces of information to the table: the fact that the Russian agents were operating through a virtual private network (also purchased using Bitcoin) to access the Internet and log into @Guccifer_2, the Twitter account that communicated data with Wikileaks and other sources.
This just goes to show that there is no fail-safe way to get away with dirty business in this age because as technology continues to make immense leaps and our lives get further tied to it, it gets harder to get away with anything. Even if it’s messing around in an election by some of the best agents in the world.