Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.) are introducing today the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation that would mitigate the risks that cryptocurrency and other digital assets pose to America’s national security by closing loopholes in the existing anti-money laundering and countering of the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and bring the digital asset ecosystem into greater compliance with the rules that govern the rest of the financial system.
“Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, our government enacted meaningful reforms that helped the banks cut off bad actors’ from America’s financial system. Applying these similar policies to cryptocurrency exchanges will prevent digital assets from being abused to finance illegal activities without limiting law-abiding American citizens’ access,” said Senator Roger Marshall. “Our common-sense bill will make it harder for criminals to finance their criminal activities, like the trafficking of illicit fentanyl through the dark web, that can harm innocent Kansans.”
“Rogue nations, oligarchs, drug lords, and human traffickers are using digital assets to launder billions in stolen funds, evade sanctions, and finance terrorism,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “The crypto industry should follow common-sense rules like banks, brokers, and Western Union, and this legislation would ensure the same standards apply across similar financial transactions. The bipartisan bill will help close crypto money laundering loopholes and strengthen enforcement to better safeguard U.S. national security.”
The Treasury Department, Department of Justice, and other national security and financial crime experts have warned that digital assets are increasingly being used for money laundering, theft and fraud schemes, terrorist financing, and other crimes. Rogue nations like Iran, Russia, and North Korea have used digital assets to launder stolen funds, evade American and international sanctions, and fund illegal weapons programs. In 2021, cybercriminals raked in at least $14 billion in digital assets – an all-time high. Binance, the world’s-largest crypto platform, was reported to have laundered over $10 billion for criminals and sanctions evaders over the last few years.
The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act would:
- Extend Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) responsibilities, including Know-Your-Customer requirements, to digital asset wallet providers, miners, validators, and other network participants that may act to validate, secure, or facilitate digital asset transactions by directing FinCEN to designate these actors as money service businesses (MSBs).
- Address a major gap with respect to “unhosted” digital wallets – which allow individuals to bypass AML and sanctions checks – by directing FinCEN to finalize and implement its December 2020 proposed rule, which would require banks and MSBs to verify customer and counterparty identities, keep records, and file reports in relation to certain digital asset transactions involving unhosted wallets or wallets hosted in non-BSA compliant jurisdictions.
- Prohibit financial institutions from using or transacting with digital asset mixers and other anonymity-enhancing technologies and from handling, using, or transacting with digital assets that have been anonymized using these technologies.
- Strengthen enforcement of BSA compliance by directing the Treasury Department to establish an AML/CFT compliance examination and review process for MSBs and directing the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish AML/CFT compliance examination and review processes for the entities it regulates.
- Extend BSA rules regarding reporting of foreign bank accounts to include digital assets by requiring United States persons engaged in a transaction with a value greater than $10,000 in digital assets through one or more offshore accounts to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Mitigate the illicit finance risks of digital asset ATMs by directing FinCEN to ensure that digital asset ATM owners and administrators regularly submit and update the physical addresses of the kiosks they own or operate and verify customer identity.