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US Treasury Asks Congress For More Power To Hunt Down Crypto Bad Actors, Including Overseas

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The US Treasury sanctioned an Ethereum wallet
The US Treasury sanctioned an Ethereum wallet

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The US Treasury Department has requested that Congress give it more authority to go after illicit actors in the cryptocurrency space, including in some cases overseas.

“We are calling on Congress to create a secondary sanction regime that will not only cut off a firm from the U.S. financial system, but will also expose any firm that continues to do business with the sanctioned entity to being cut off from the U.S. financial system,” said Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo on Nov. 29.

“This is a significant tool we do not request lightly. But we need to do everything in our power to make sure that groups like Hamas are not able to find safe haven within the digital asset ecosystem,” he added. 

Senate confirms Wally Adeyemo to No. 2 Treasury post | Pensions & Investments

Crypto’s use in terrorism financing has been at the forefront of discussions since militant group Hamas attacked Israel.

US Treasury Sets Its Sights on Virtual Asset Service Providers

The U.S. Treasury’s proposal asked that lawmakers allow for the “targeting of cryptocurrency entities and services that facilitate funding for terrorists.”

The document called for a new category of financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). This new category will include “cryptocurrency exchanges, Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs), virtual asset wallet providers, certain blockchain validator nodes and decentralized finance services.”

Companies offering these services will need to meet strict anti-money-laundering demands, proposed the document.

Adeyemo also focused his attention on companies outside the U.S. and suggested that any offering dollar-backed stablecoins should not be able to use the dollar without proper measures in place to block potential terrorist usage. 

“We cannot allow dollar-backed stablecoin providers outside the United States to have the privilege of using our currency without the responsibility of putting in place procedures to prevent terrorists from abusing their platform,” he said.

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