According to recent media reports, Kenneth Blanco, director of the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), delivered a speech at Georgetown University, clearly stating that anti-money laundering (AML) laws apply to everyone.
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On October 21st, the banking trade publication American Banker reported that Blanco said that financial technology companies that provide cryptocurrency users anonymity must comply with anti-money laundering laws, “just like everyone else’s. ".
Blanco emphasizes responsibility and Bank Secrecy Act
Blanco seems to point his comments to an anonymous cryptocurrency payment system that can hide criminal activity or make users anonymously commit crimes.
In his speech, the head of the FinCEN pointed out the main goal of the anti-money laundering policy, which is to obtain information about who is involved in the payment transaction. He said:
"There is a reason you need to know… someone on the other side of the transaction – they may be engaged in some kind of illegal activity. Whether it is an opioid… or another person's smuggling… you want to know who that person is."
Blanco told the audience that it is not difficult to get this information. He added:
“We only ask for name, address, account number, transaction, payee and amount.”
“So when you tell me that you don’t know where the other person is, you will have a big problem. Because you have to know, this is what we expect.” Earlier this month, the presidents of the three major US financial regulators issued a joint statement warning the AML of cryptocurrency users and the obligation to combat the financing of terrorism, reminding cryptocurrency companies to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Blanco said this:
"Your BSA obligations will still exist […] Whether you are a stable currency, centralized or decentralized – it doesn't matter. You still have to be able to comply."
Although Blanco did not mention Facebook's Libra stable currency, he did make it clear that there is no difference between FinCEN and any other type of cryptocurrency.
FinCEN is instructed by Congress to study blockchain technology
According to previous reports, the US House of Representatives passed a bill calling on FinCEN to study blockchain technology to combat financial crime. The bill requires FinCEN director Kenneth Blanco to research emerging technologies such as blockchain technology in FinCEN.