In what appears to be a first for the American government, the U.S. Department of State is offering to pay a cryptocurrency bounty worth up to $10m (315BTC at the time of writing) in return for actionable intelligence about cyberattacks orchestrated by foreign governments.
The federal agency, acting through the Rewards for Justice program operated by the Diplomatic Security Service, made the offer in a July 15th press statement.
It said the payment would be provided to anyone who can give “information leading to the identification or location of any person who, while acting at the direction or under the control of a foreign government, participates in malicious cyber activities against U.S. critical infrastructure”.
The press statement then added: “Reward payments may include payments in cryptocurrency.”
An agency spokesperson confirmed to a taken-aback Coindesk that this does, indeed, mark “the first time since its establishment in 1984 that the Rewards for Justice program has offered a reward payment in cryptocurrency”.
More significantly, it appears to be the first time that any organ of the U.S. federal government has taken