The United States Treasury Department has introduced a groundbreaking proposal to combat illicit activities facilitated by cryptocurrency mixers. This proposal comes with far-reaching implications.
It reflects growing concerns in Washington regarding the misuse of cryptocurrencies by state-affiliated cyber entities, cybercriminals, and terrorist organizations.
Why the crusade against Crypto mixers?
The core objective of the proposal is to introduce regulatory oversight that will curtail the shadow world of crypto mixers. These platforms, often referred to as “crypto mixers,” allow users to trade cryptocurrencies while maintaining anonymity. It is an attractive channel for money laundering and terror financing.
The proposal leverages existing laws that are applied to foreign banks and jurisdictions. It mandates detailed record-keeping and reporting requirements for financial transactions involving crypto mixers.
The proposal will undergo a 90-day public commentary period before potential adoption. This enables entities that are being targeted to take corrective action, possibly evading sanctions—a move that has worked in the past.
The “death-knell sanctions,” crafted in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks are often invoked in such situations. Even though crypto mixers only make up a tiny portion of the cryptocurrency market, their potential for money laundering and aiding terrorism calls for strict regulations.
Regulatory actions on Crypto mixers
ChipMixer, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency mixers was dismantled by the Europol and other law enforcement authorities in March 2023. A large amount of Bitcoin and data was seized, exposing the mixer’s involvement in laundering billions of dollars in Bitcoin (approx. $3.69 billion).
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control has also sanctioned to mainly curb Russia’s war chest. They also want to restrict North Korean hackers from laundering millions of dollars in stolen crypto funds.
These developments collectively underline authorities want to safeguard national security interests while trying to balance innovations. Latest proposal by the US Treasury stands as a bold step towards strengthening new financial systems.