US Treasury plans to ask public if crypto-related regulations are 'no longer fit for purpose'

US Treasury plans to ask public if crypto-related regulations are 'no longer fit for purpose'

September 19, 2022

The United States Department of the Treasury will be calling for comments from the public on digital assets, including their views on how regulations may address illicit uses of crypto.

In a document set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury requested public comment on “digital-asset-related illicit finance and national security risks as well as the publicly released action plan to mitigate the risks” related to President Joe Biden’s executive order on crypto from March. The department invited the public to share their thoughts on what regulatory obligations the U.S. government had imposed that were “no longer fit for purpose as it relates to digital assets” as well as offer suggestions for alternative regulations addressing illicit finance risks and vulnerabilities.

“Illicit activities highlight the need for ongoing scrutiny of the use of digital assets, the extent to which technological innovation may impact such activities, and exploration of opportunities to mitigate these risks through regulation, supervision, public-private engagement, oversight, and law enforcement,” said the Treasury.

Specifically, the U.S. Treasury asked for potential additional steps it might take in regards to addressing ransomware attacks, illicit finance risks of cryptocurrency mixers and DeFi, and how the government could coordinate anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism policy at both the state and federal level. The public has until Nov. 3 to submit comments.

The request for public comment followed the White House releasing a regulatory framework on digital assets on Sept. 16. Many in the space, including crypto advocacy groups, criticized the administration for seemingly focusing on the illicit uses of crypto rather than its potential benefits. As part of the framework’s requirements, the Treasury Department will create an “illicit finance risk assessment on decentralized finance” by February 2023.

Related: Illicit crypto usage as a percent of total usage has fallen: Report

Biden’s executive order also had the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve exploring policy objectives and for a U.S. central bank digital currency. On Sept. 17, the Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report on 18 different design choices for potentially implementing a digital dollar in the United States.

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