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Blockchain Government News

United States Congress Taps FinCEN Director to Review Blockchain Technology

The US House of Representatives recently passed legislation that bids the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) review blockchain tech and how it can be used to fight financial crime. 

Newly Passed Bill

The United States Congress passed the “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act” on Sept. 19. The bill mandates Kenneth Blanco, the Director of FinCEN, to conduct a study on how to adopt emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, digital identity, and other innovations within the department. The goal is to leverage these technologies to help FinCEN analyze data more effectively and efficiently. 

The bill was introduced to Congress by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) of Ohio back in May and was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. The freshman representative drafted the proposal as a high-tech method to fight financial crimes. 

Gonzalez on the Topic

According to Gonzalez, his bill ensures the country is using the best technology available to discover and prevent money laundering. He added that money laundering not only makes all crimes possible, it’s also “financially profitable for cartels, traffickers, and terrorists.”

The House debated the bill on Sept. 19 and it was received by the Senate on Sept. 23. It was read twice and forwarded to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. 

The executive director of the Government Blockchain Association, Gerard Dache, said the push to utilize blockchain technology is overdue. He claims the government often scrambles after criminals and their blockchain tools. Federal agencies should study and use the technology to meet the bad elements on a level playing field. 

The emergence of cryptocurrency has been keeping the FinCEN Director and his department occupied. Blanco had previously encouraged casinos to observe the guidelines the financial crime watchdog has established with regards to dubious convertible virtual currency (CVC) movements. 

Crypto Payments in Casinos

Blanco also enjoined casinos handling crypto payments to think about how they will oversee due diligence on CVC dealings and blockchain analysis. He said casinos should review the relevant documents on FinCEN’s official website to understand how the agency is addressing the crypto industry and its synergy with the financial sector. 

FinCEN’s chief also stated that casinos should fill up SARs when they see suspicious CVC movement and other cyber activities that facilitate conduct, or impact transactions. He cautioned that casinos are often targeted by cybercriminal activities like ransomware and business e-mail compromise scams.

Blanco is also wary about Libra, Facebook’s proposed stablecoin. He was reported to have briefed several Congressmen back in July on how Libra could potentially be used in money laundering and various illegal financing activities.

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