US Treasury Dept and Industry Leaders Met to Discuss The Challenges In Crypto Compliance

The US Treasury Department, along with important figures in the crypto industry, have met to discuss the regulatory challenges in the crypto space.

On March 2nd, the Treasury made an announcement that it will be meeting with crypto experts and leaders in order to address the supervision and regulation of crypto assets.

Steven Mnuchin, the secretary of the Treasury, said he welcomes any responsible innovation that has the potential to make the financial system more efficient.

Innovation Compromising National Security?

Mnuchin also mentioned that national security may be threatened by innovation in the financial system, noting that:

“We must ensure that we balance innovation with the need to protect our national security and maintain the integrity of our financial system.”

According to the announcement released yesterday, the US Treasury Department focuses on preventing money laundering, terrorist financing and other illegal activities done with the help of crypto assets.

It further added that the US will fight for crypto regulation and that it won’t tolerate cryptocurrencies being used for any illegal activity.

The US Has Always Been in Conflict with Cryptocurrencies

Many US financial regulators have been very cautious and even hostile towards the subject of cryptocurrencies.

Even Mnuchin insisted last summer that Bitcoin (BTC) is laundered more than cash. In December, one of the US Federal Reserve’s governors stated that one-fourth of the people who use BTC are criminals and half of the BTC transactions are related to crimes.

The association of cryptocurrencies with illegal activities leads to the financial system being deprived of collaborations involving crypto assets.

Not long ago, the ChangeOutput blockchain communications shop’s founder, Justin O’Connell, mentioned that there are many banks not facilitating crypto-operating businesses just because there’s a belief that cryptocurrencies are being used for all sort of illicit actions.

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

US Treasury Department Pilots Blockchain-Based Federal Grants Tracking System

The US Treasury Department, which is in charge of government revenue, has been reported to experiment with blockchain tech in order to develop a system that tracks federal grants.

The proof-of-concept (PoC) program that’s intended for a blockchain-based grant recipients’ letter of credit is about to be completed, says Craig Fischer, the manager of the innovation program at the Treasury. As reported by Federal Computer Week (FCW), Fischer talked about the program on Friday, at a conference on federal financial systems modernization.

What’s Does the Program Do?

During trials, the program was used to tokenize credit letters so that it follows the trail of grant money from federal reserves to their recipients, says the FCW report. Through tokenization, the grant incipient and amount are being identified, also other important data like the date when the grant was awarded, Fischer mentioned. He continued by adding that grant recipients need to hold an electronic wallet linked to a bank account if they want to be given a tokenized letter of credit. When it comes to access, Fischer mentioned:

“This isn’t the Bitcoin network, where everything is visible.”

The US Treasury started on the Program in September 2019

Developed in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, the San Diego State University and the Duke University ever since September 2019, the trial program is expected to come to an end as soon as this month will be over. It isn’t the 1st time when the Treasury Department is experimenting with blockchain tech in order to enhance its agency.

For example, back in 2018, it has developed a blockchain-based prototype project for managing physical assets like mobile phones and computers, and noted the technology has,

“great potential for streamlining burdensome reconciliation operations that are involved in many financial transactions.”

Read Original/a>
Author: Oana Ularu

US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: Companies Left Libra Association Due To Compliance Issues

Steven Mnuchin, the U. S. Treasury Secretary, has recently been interviewed by CNBC’s Squawk Box. During the interview, he talked about how some companies are abandoning the Libra Association as they are concerned with regulatory problems.

According to him, the project is really not “up to par” with the current laws for Anti-Money Laundering of the United States. This would prompt the government to take action against them, so they have understood that it was not a good idea to side with Libra before the project was really up to par with what was expected.

Recently, PayPal, Mastercard, eBay, Stripe, Visa and other major companies have all announced that they would drop from the Libra Association, which would govern Facebook’s upcoming stablecoin. Most of the companies decided to back away from the Libra as the G7 working group reported that Libra was a major potential threat to international stability.

When PayPal left the association, people from the company affirmed that the company “remained supportive” of Libra but that it would not be a part of it anymore. That is the general consensus now. Most companies don’t really want to burn the bridges, but they noticed that backing the Libra is possibly not the greatest idea right now.

The anti-Libra stance, however, is not taken by everybody. The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, has recently criticized the senators of the country for asking companies to leave the project (which they did). According to him, this is “un-American”.

Right now, Facebook is fighting to keep its partners on its team and to convince the regulators that it can provide a good service, but the situation is far from certain.

Read Original/a>
Author: James W

US Treasury Warns US Fintech Companies To Be Regulatory Compliant

Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury undersecretary recently said that cryptos can become the next frontier on the war on terror.

“While most terrorist groups still primarily rely on the traditional financial system and cash to transfer funds, without the appropriate strong safeguards cryptocurrencies could become the next frontier,” Mandelker said.

The undersecretary went on to say that not taking necessary action may result in compromises to national security. As a result, the Treasury Department has vowed to work with governments across the globe to ensure non-compliant networks and fintechs do not survive.

Mandelker added:

“While this may not seem like a lot of money, a FinCEN analysis found remittances linked to terrorism averaged less than $600 per transaction. As we know, the cost of carrying out a terrorist attack can be very low. But the human costs to victims are always extraordinarily high.”

Additionally, the US Treasury Department has just announced new sanctions against online criminal groups based in North Korea. The groups have reportedly conducted cryptocurrency ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes aimed at subverting international sanctions against the state.

It named the groups as Lazarus Group, Bluenoroff, and Andariel and said they were controlled by the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB), North Korea’s primary intelligence bureau, which is already subject to US and United Nations sanctions. It said WannaCry affected at least 150 countries and shut down about 300,000 computers, including many at the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

There are at least 20 bills related to blockchain in various stages of being considered by the United States Congress, but only one is of imminent, potentially urgent concern to cryptocurrency users.

Read Original/a>
Author: Sritanshu Sinha

US Treasury Claims North Korean Weapons Program Is Funded By Crypto’s From Hacking Group Lazarus

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that North Korean state-sponsored hacking groups attacked critical infrastructure, drawing illicit funds that ultimately funded the country’s weapons and missile programs.

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, states:

“Treasury is taking action against North Korean hacking groups that have been perpetrating cyberattacks to support illicit weapon and missile programs. We will continue to enforce existing U.S. and UN sanctions against North Korea and work with the international community to improve the cybersecurity of financial networks.”

Pro crypto Lazurus Group got called out by the treasury. Earlier this month North Korea denied it stole $2 Billion in cryptos. Of the three groups named today, the name Lazarus Group is sometimes used to describe the entire North Korean cyber-espionage apparatus, but it’s only one of the groups, although, without doubt, the biggest.

The Lazarus Group’s most infamous operations were the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment back in 2014, and the WannaCry ransomware outbreak from May 2016. The financial losses caused by this group are unknown, but their extensive operations make them the most dangerous and well-known of the three.

Consequently, all property and interests in property of these entities, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by the designated entities, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.

A crucial piece of this puzzle is understanding the extent to which the online illegal trade simply reflects migration of activity that would have otherwise occurred on the street, versus the alternative that by making illegal goods more accessible, convenient to buy, and less risky due to anonymity, the move online could lead to growth in the aggregate black market.

Countless people across the world were attacked by a malware program that locked their computers and demanded money to unlock, in an attack dubbed WannaCry. The attackers received thousands of dollars in the form of Bitcoin.

Read Original/a>
Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Tether Treasury Moves 7 Million USDT, Could Spark a Bitcoin Price Surge

The Tether Treasury has recently moved 7,000,000 USDT from its vaults recently. This movement of funds was recently spotted by Whale Alert, which also spotted that the Tether Treasury minted 10,000,000 USDT just an hour after the money was moved out.

What could this mean for the Bitcoin market? A lot, indeed. Tether’s movements are often correlated with Bitcoin, so this could be a sign that the next bull run is on the corner. People often use USDT in order to trade BTC, so there is a correlation between the volume of the stablecoin and the prices of the most popular crypto out there.

If the decline in Tether’s volume was considered to blame for the low prices of BTC recently, this could certainly indicate that a new price boom could be near us.

What is exactly really hard to say is whether Tether is keeping Bitcoin afloat or not. There are rumors that speculators could be using Tether to make Bitcoin stay afloat. The fact that prices are going up recently is a pretty good sign of that.

Now, what someone can do is to watch the wallet that bought all the USDT and see if the money will be used to buy BTC or not.

Curiously, such a large exchange of money is happening during the same day that Bitfinex closed its platform. According to the company, the shutdown was due to maintenance, but some people on the internet have speculated whether that is true or not.

Read Original/a>
Author: Ali Raza

US Treasury Blacklists BTC and LTC Wallet Addresses Said To Be Owned by 3 Chinese Drug Kingpins

The government of the United States, via the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), has decided to blacklist three crypto addresses this week. According to the institution, the owners of these crypto addresses were guilty of money laundering and drug smuggling.

According to the OFAC, Fujing Zheng, Xiaobing Yan and Guanghua Zheng were all determined as “drug kingpins”. All their U. S.-related assets were frozen, as well as their email accounts.

As you cannot simply seize the assets of a crypto wallet, the addresses of several Bitcoin wallets and one Litecoin wallet related to the Chinese criminals were blacklisted. This means that no organization that does not want to break the U. S. law can transact with them.

The OFAC affirmed that these people used Bitcoin in order to launder the money from their crimes and put it into banks that were based in either China or Hong Kong.

Sigal Mandelker, from the financial intelligence unit of the government, affirmed that these three people were involved in a significant international operation of drug trafficking. He also affirmed that they were directly responsible for the opioid crisis that is affecting the United States by shipping hundreds of packages full of drugs to the country.

This is only the second time that the entity decided to blacklist a wallet. Doing this is still considered somewhat rare, mostly because the government is not so used to deal with crypto yet. The first time that something like this happened was in November 2018 when two Iranian men were accused of being related to a ransomware scam.

Read Original/a>
Author: Hank Klinger