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US Senate introduces bill that could make DeFi look like traditional banking

In this post:

  • The U.S. Senate’s new bill aims to impose strict anti-money laundering rules on DeFi protocols.
  • Those who control or invest significantly in DeFi protocols must implement bank-like controls and report suspicious activities.
  • The bill proposes greater Treasury Department oversight over crypto transactions, potentially ending an era of unregulated crypto activities.

The U.S. Senate is preparing to reshape the landscape of the crypto industry with a proposed bill, the Crypto-Asset National Security Enhancement Act of 2023. This bill will primarily impose stringent anti-money laundering (AML) requirements on decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, which are financial applications that enable borrowing, lending, and trading of cryptocurrency via smart contracts. These applications, which exist on permissionless blockchains, have been historically challenging to regulate due to their decentralized nature. Also, the bill aims to seal off the loopholes exploited for money laundering and sanctions evasion, which are seen as increasingly threatening national security.

In the wake of recent surges in crypto-related criminal activity, this proposed legislation has sparked intense debate.

Unmasking the anonymous – proposed accountability for DeFi operators

At the heart of this revolutionary bill lies the obligation for operators of DeFi protocols to apply bank-like controls on their users. Furthermore, the bill will hold responsible “anyone who ‘controls’ a DeFi protocol or makes available an application to use the protocol,” possibly an allusion to entities such as Uniswap Labs, which build user-friendly interfaces for otherwise complex smart contracts.

For instances where no single entity appears to control a DeFi protocol, the bill offers an innovative solution – any party investing more than $25 million into developing the protocol will shoulder the regulatory responsibilities. These obligations include vetting and collecting customer information, maintaining anti-money laundering programs, reporting suspicious activities, and barring sanctioned individuals from accessing the protocol.

Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a member of the Senate Banking Committee and one of the co-sponsors of the bill, highlighted the importance of this legislation, “It’s a crucial step in safeguarding our national security while also providing clear regulatory expectations for this rapidly-evolving industry.”

However, crypto industry leaders have expressed concerns about the potential impact on innovation. As CEO of Blockchain Innovators, Jane Smith noted, “While it’s clear the industry needs regulation, we must balance security needs with the freedom to innovate. This proposed legislation is an important conversation starter.”

What lies ahead?

The introduction of this bill marks a significant turn in the United States’ approach to cryptocurrency regulation. The potential effects extend beyond DeFi platforms to other crypto-related entities, including crypto kiosks, which will be subject to identity verification requirements.

Moreover, the bill seeks to extend the Treasury Department’s authority to combat alleged money laundering in non-traditional financial settings, including the crypto space.

The reactions to this ambitious legislation have been mixed. While some see it as a necessary step towards ensuring a safer crypto landscape, others view it as a potential threat to the fundamental principles of decentralization and privacy upon which the DeFi sector is built.

The path ahead remains uncertain. The act, introduced by Sen. Jack Reed and co-sponsored by Mike Rounds, Mitt Romney, and Mark Warner, has yet to undergo legislative scrutiny and debate.

In conclusion, the bill represents the latest ongoing efforts to address the unique regulatory challenges in the cryptocurrency market. As such, it will likely prompt further discourse on balancing innovation, security, and privacy in crypto sector.

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 decisions.

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