Cryptocurrencies

The US Treasury Department released its biannual National Counterterrorism Strategy

The US Treasury Department released its semi-annual National Strategy for Countering Terrorism and Other Forms of Illicit Finance. It contains four priority recommendations that may impact virtual assets in several ways.

The Treasury strategy acknowledged that law enforcement is striving to keep pace with the evolution of financial technology. Treasury’s first two priorities are to address regulatory gaps in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) and to create a more focused and effective supervisory framework. The Treasury said it would “assess the need to take additional action on sectors that are not subject to comprehensive anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures.”

Increased enforcement is also on the agenda. The strategy said:

“The explosion of new payment channels and financial services providers, including VASPs (virtual asset service providers), over the past decade has exhausted the limited supervisory resources historically applied to traditional MSBs (financial services businesses).”

A new focus on blockchain technology is part of the strategy. For example, there is the FBI’s Virtual Assets Unit, which “provides technological equipment, block chain analysis, virtual asset forfeiture training, and other advanced virtual asset training to FBI personnel.”

Source: Under Secretary Brian Nelson

Finally, the Treasury seeks to “support responsible technological innovation and harness technology to mitigate the risks of illicit finance” through a wide range of measures. It recommends increasing inclusiveness in the financial system and combating de-risking – the practice of denying small banks all correspondent services in areas where illicit activities are high. De-risking has serious consequences for legitimate users of banking services and encourages the use of cryptocurrency-based and non-banking payment and remittance solutions.

Related: US Treasury Department Official Urges Congress for More Force Against Cryptocurrency Crimes

Creating better cross-border payment systems and money transfer options under regulation is part of the strategy. He pointed to the G20 roadmap and the FedNow domestic transfer system as good applications of this approach.

Artificial intelligence and digital identity can play a major role in the success of the strategy:

“We will provide regulatory and policy support for trusted digital identity solutions and (…) expand the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics in US government efforts to (…) advance US technology leadership in payments that reflects US standards, practices, and policies.” And values.”

The strategy noted that AI could be harnessed to enhance government regulatory and enforcement efforts, but could also be applied by illegitimate users of the financial system.

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