Bill Approved by House of Representatives Requires Department of Treasury to Develop Plan to Combat Criminal Financial Networks Including use of Digital Currencies

The US House of Representatives has just passed a Bill, HR 4768, that will require the US Department of the Treasury, in consultation with various U.S. agencies, to develop a national strategy to combat the financial networks of transnational organized criminals. The Bill passed the House floor on a voice vote thus indicating strong bipartisan support and a very good chance it will move easily through the Senate.

The current language of the Bill incorporates illicit activity using “digital currencies” such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The text requires:

“An assessment of methods by which transnational organized crime groups launder illicit proceeds, including money laundering using real estate and other tangible goods such as art and antiquities, trade-based money laundering, bulk cash smuggling, exploitation of shell companies, and misuse of digital currencies and other cyber technologies, as well as an assessment of the risk to the financial system of the United States of such methods.”

If the Bill become law, the Department of Treasury must report to Congress and regularly update their national strategy.

The Senate has worked on similar legislationThe Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017″ (S.1241). Sponsored by Senator Grassley, the legislation was last reviewed by the Committee on the Judiciary but his since not progressed. The language of the Senate bill contained some untenable requirements that could have a detrimental impact on the cryptocurrency sector.

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