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FinCEN identified cryptocurrency as one of the things to consider in the National Priorities list to fight cybercrime

The U.S. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), an agency of the United States Department of the Treasury, has announced that cryptocurrencies are on their “National Priorities” list for combating terrorist financing activities.

FinCEN: Cryptocurrency is on America’s Top “National Priorities” list

FinCEN is an agency tasked with preventing and punishing money laundering and other financial crimes. Recently, the agency turned its attention to cryptocurrencies. Specifically, on June 30, FinCEN announced the top priority list of the US Government. Including 8 issues mentioned:

  • Corruption
  • Cybercrime, including relevant cybersecurity and virtual currency considerations
  • Foreign and domestic terrorist financing
  • Fraud
  • Transnational criminal organization activity
  • Drug trafficking organization activity
  • Human trafficking and human smuggling
  • Proliferation financing

fincen-identified-cryptocurrency-is-one-of-the-things-to-consider-in-the-national-priorities-list-to-fight-cybercrime

Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism National Priorities | Source: FinCEN

As of now, the agency’s list is not linked to any policy. FinCEN also announced that it will issue regulations at a later date to specify how financial institutions should incorporate the National Priorities list into their anti-money laundering (AML) programs.

Since the end of 2020, FinCEN has been hard at work on cryptocurrency outreach. This was also when the Ministry of Finance issued a controversial regulation that required cryptocurrency exchanges to identify individual wallets that made large transactions.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), another agency of the US Treasury Department, has also made headlines – first in 2016 and again in early 2021 – for issuing controversial summons to Cryptocurrency exchanges to name a few big deals.

FinCEN’s inclusion of cryptocurrencies and cybercriminals on its priority list stems from a number of ransomware attacks. Such as the Colonial Pipeline hack, in which criminals extorted money in Bitcoin.

“Treasury is particularly concerned about cyber-enabled financial crime, ransomware attacks, and the misuse of virtual assets that exploits and undermines their innovative potential, including through laundering of illicit proceeds,” FinCEN said in a statement.

The agency views cryptocurrencies as “a significant financial innovation.” However, FinCEN also said that cryptocurrencies are currently the preferred form of payment for any illegal activities, including ransomware, drugs…

“It is even used by some of the highest priority threat actors to advance their illegal activities and nuclear weapons ambitions,” FinCEN added.

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