The last few months have seen the United States pay more attention to the regulation of cryptocurrency. The concerned financial bodies have begun looking at the crypto industry as a serious financial sector and they have been cracking down on crypto companies over the last few weeks.
Some crypto companies have already felt the effects of the crackdown being pushed by United States regulators. Binance recently announced that they will no longer be offering business to American crypto investors. Binance’s flagship website is now geo locked for American citizens and accounts belonging to suspected Americans are closed on the exchange.
The American market is a very important part of the crypto industry. A large number of crypto investors come from the United States and the continued crackdown by regulators in the country could cause serious damage to the cause of the crypto industry. If American investors feel the pressure from regulators is becoming too much, they might be forced to sell their crypto holdings.
United State’s crackdown on illegal crypto activity
Bitcoin prices have been affected by the crackdown and the leading cryptocurrency has seen its price faltering in recent weeks. Investors are less inclined to buy Bitcoin due to the uncertainty hovering above the crypto industry. However, the moves being made by regulators have also rooted out criminals and other fraudulent activity that is associated with cryptocurrency. Exchanges and companies that have been using shoddy means in their business are being exposed during the crackdown by American authorities.
The actions being executed by regulators in the United States are a general reflection of the position held by President Trump and the US Treasury with regard to cryptocurrency. Through his tweets, Trump expressed the view that digital assets are used in illicit activities such as human trafficking, money laundering and drug dealing. Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, also expressed negativity towards cryptocurrency and since then, regulators have stepped up their fight against crypto related illegal activity.
In the past weeks, there have been two arrests made in relation to crimes committed using Bitcoin. A Silk Road drug dealer was arrested last week on allegations of using Bitcoin to launder money through the dark web marketplace. Another drug dealer was also arrested in connection to Bitcoin related crimes, opiates and Zimbabwean currency stockpiles which could not be explained.
BitMEX, a top player in the crypto industry is under investigation by the CFTC for offering services to American clients despite an order barring the exchange from doing so. The United States Department of Justice has filed a civil lawsuit against Alexander Vinnick founder and CEO of BTC-e, a Russian crypto exchange. Vinnick is being accused of money laundering and other crimes.
Crypto industry in danger of outright ban
Some legislators and government officials in the United States have called for an outright ban of cryptocurrency in the country and the criminal activity being exposed during this crackdown may offer support for those calls. There is growing uncertainty in the crypto community as Bitcoin trading continues to be threatened by regulators.
Even if the regulators decide not to go through with an outright ban, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued statements and warnings to players in the crypto sector which show that the body intends to impose strict regulations on crypto holdings. The IRS has reminded people that crypto related tax fraud is one of its priorities and the body will be taking a firm stance against such fraud. People who have holdings in their Bitcoin wallets need to have a clear understanding of tax laws surrounding cryptocurrency trade and use to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.