Treasury nominee will target crypto money laundering

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The US Treasury Department’s nominee Brian Nelson appeared for his senate confirmation hearing yesterday

The Biden administration’s nominee for the head of terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson noted in his confirmation hearing yesterday that he would meticulously address the issue of crypto money laundering if given the role. Nelson categorically stated that he would give precedence to matters revolving around non-conformance to anti-money laundering laws.

The California-based attorney was queried on the recently passed Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020. He responded that the law authorised officials to enact regulation measures for crypto regardless of their form. Alongside Nelson was Elizabeth Rosenberg, the Biden pick to serve as assistant secretary for terrorism financing at the Treasury. Rosenberg asserted that she would ensure the proper rules are enforced and that their implementation would be consistent.

“If I am confirmed, I will prioritise implementing that piece of legislation, including new regulations around cryptocurrency,” she said.

Government officials, notable industry figures, and other groups in the US have voiced their concerns about the use of cryptocurrencies in criminal activities. The scenario is almost the same outside the US borders. Countries like the UK, Canada and China have also been vocal on crypto regulation.

Talking about crypto crime, a recent study by Crypto Head has revealed that criminal activities associated with cryptocurrency are rising at an alarming rate. The report details that the US has the largest average rate of increase at 300% a year based on data from 2017 to 2021. Australia and the UK are also in the mix, albeit their numbers are much lower.

According to the report, more than 100,000 US cases of either thefts, scams, or pump-and-dump were lodged between 2017 and 2020. Last year alone accounts for a staggering 82,135 cases. The average rate of rise of crypto crime in the UK swings around 24%, considering data obtained between 2016 and 2020. The number of incidents reported during this period sums up to about 25,000. There are no figures for the reported cases in Australia before 2018. However, between then and the end of 2020, about 23,500 have been recorded.

The Crypto Head report warns that the actual figures in these countries could be higher as it only focused on the reported ones. It further pointed out that Bitcoin was the most commonly used crypto asset to facilitate crime in these countries. It is followed by Ethereum, together representing the two biggest cryptocurrencies by market capital.

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