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US Congress determined to upgrade crypto crime enforcement techniques


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Congressional hearings a while back raised serious issues regarding blockchain technology and the potential for abuse by the criminal element in our society. These words may have taken on a softer tone than what several congressmen and government officials, including President Trump, had said about cryptos and the distributed ledger technologies that rely upon blockchain driven platforms. The message was clear – A new law was necessary. The House has passed a bill, which now awaits Senate approval and the President’s signature, to study crypto crime enforcement techniques.

The bill actually instructs the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to begin the process by studying the latest ways to better use whatever technologies are available today related to the blockchain phenomena to aid in the fight against crime. The mission, as stated, is actually a good thing for the crypto industry, since many law enforcement agencies are pleased with the openness and transparency of the Bitcoin blockchain, for example, and are already employing a number of “tricks of the trade” to further their investigative efforts. The facts may enlighten, but improvements are good.

Freshmen Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R) Ohio introduced the bill. Coindesk reported him saying that:

My bill makes sure that we are using the best technology we have available to find and stop the money laundering that makes all these crimes not only possible, but financially profitable for cartels, traffickers, and terrorists.

His bill is entitled “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act”.

The bill requires the Director of FinCEN, Kenneth Blanco, to review and study all emerging technologies, including blockchain, to determine their relevance in fighting crime. The bill reads:

The Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) shall carry out a study on […] whether AI, digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies can be further leveraged to make FinCEN’s data analysis more efficient and effective.

Cointelegraph also reported that Blanco had testified before Congress, noting his initiatives with casinos and how they deal with crypto payments, an obvious point where illicit crypto gains can gain entry into the public sector:

I encourage casinos to closely review both documents on FinCEN’s website to see how we are addressing this industry and its interactions with others in the financial sector. Casinos should be filing SARs when they encounter suspicious CVC activity and any cyber events that affect, facilitate, or conduct transactions. We know that casinos are targets for cyber and cyber-enabled criminal activity such, as ransomware attacks and business e-mail compromise schemes.

Industry response has been positive. Gerard Dache, executive director at the Government Blockchain Association, noted it was the right moment to stop wasting time with outdated crime enforcement techniques. It was time to use modern tools to catch up with the enemy:

It’s almost like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. When bad actors engage with it we’ve got to meet them on the battlefield of technology.

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US Congress determined to upgrade crypto crime enforcement techniques

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