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Why Crypto mixers are in hot water with FinCEN

In this post:

  • FinCEN is intensifying its scrutiny of crypto mixers due to increasing illicit activities.
  • Originally, regulations aimed to address only terror-financing entities like Hamas and ISIS, but the scope has broadened.
  • Deputy Treasury Secretary, Wally Adeyemo, points to real-world consequences, such as attacks on Israel, linked to mixer-facilitated funding.

The turbulence surrounding crypto mixers has amplified, putting them squarely in the crosshairs of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Let’s dive into the unfolding drama and scrutinize the intensifying skepticism regarding these platforms.

On The Rise: Illicit Transactions

FinCEN, an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department, is ringing alarm bells. The agency has observed an upsurge in illicit activities linked with convertible virtual currencies (CVC) being funneled through crypto mixers.

Consequently, there’s been a push for domestic financial entities to tighten the noose on recordkeeping and reporting related to these mixers.

Originally, FinCEN’s intent was to roll out a regulation exclusively tackling the financing channels sustaining notorious entities like Hamas, ISIS, and affiliates connected to North Korea.

But in a change of tact, they realized a pinpointed strategy wouldn’t be enough to confront the sprawling risks attached to crypto mixers.

Enter Wally Adeyemo, Deputy Treasury Secretary, who highlights the gravity of the situation. These mixers aren’t merely tools for financial privacy. They’re being exploited as conduits for shady transactions by groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The ripples of these activities aren’t restricted to the digital realm; they manifest in real-world devastation, such as the recent assaults on Israel and a Gaza hospital.

Anxiety around the unholy matrimony of terrorism and cryptocurrency is growing. Over a hundred U.S. Congress members rallied around a call to action on October 17, urging President Biden’s administration to curb illicit crypto undertakings with unwavering resolve.

Their voice was not an isolated echo; just a day later, a Gaza-based crypto operator, suspected of links with Hamas, found itself on Treasury’s list of flagged entities.

The Backlash and Legal Tug-of-War

But it isn’t just about new directives. Let’s wind the clock back a bit. In 2022, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control took a swing at Tornado Cash, prohibiting U.S. denizens from using it. The reason? Several crypto addresses linked to this mixer were blacklisted.

This action wasn’t without resistance. Coinbase, a heavyweight in the crypto arena, backed a lawsuit in response, initiated by a group of six individuals. Fast forward to 2023, and a federal court ruled that, indeed, the Treasury Department had stayed in its lane.

So, where does all of this leave crypto mixers? FinCEN is opening the floor to public discourse. They’ve set a 90-day window for public comments on this contentious proposal.

Once this phase concludes, they’ll sift through the feedback, weighing every perspective before finalizing their stance on crypto mixers. In the volatile world of crypto, the ongoing scrutiny of mixers underscores the larger tension between financial privacy and security concerns.

As the debate rages on, one thing is clear: the road ahead for crypto mixers is fraught with challenges, and it’s crucial to keep a critical eye on unfolding events.

The balance between financial innovation and security is a delicate one, and it’s a dance that regulators, users, and the industry at large will have to navigate with care.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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