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U.S. Treasury requests public comment on curbing crypto-related crimes

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U.S. Treasury requests public comment on curbing crypto-related crimes

U.S. Treasury requests public comment on curbing crypto-related crimes Christian Nwobodo · 3 hours ago · 2 min read

The U.S. Treasury requested feedback to provide perspective on its approach in drafting a crypto regulatory bill as directed by the executive order.

2 min read

Updated: September 20, 2022 at 12:07 am

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

U.S. Department of the Treasury has called on the public to provide feedback on the role of digital assets in facilitating illicit finance and how the regulator might curtail the associated risks.

On September 19 the Treasury announced the public feedback will guide its perspective in drafting a regulatory bill as requested by Biden’s Executive Order on crypto.

On March 9, 2022, President Joe Biden released an executive order that directed all federal agencies to draft cryptocurrency regulations that address six key issues, including consumer protection, mitigating illicit finance, and promoting U.S. leadership in the global financial system.

The executive order noted that the use of digital assets had given bad actors the leverage to easily engage in financial crimes related to money laundering, terrorism, fraud, and theft schemes.

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The Treasury said it has worked with several government agencies to develop an action plan that seeks to mitigate the illicit activities. However, the regulator is open to collaborating with the public to develop a coordinated action plan.

Through this request for comment (RFC), The Treasury is requesting input from the public to understand its view on the emerging risks and what actions the U.S. Government and Treasury Department should take to mitigate them.

Interested members of the public are requested to comment on questions relating to

  • How crypto might be used in illicit finance and the risk they pose.
  • How the U.S. government might prevent criminals from misusing crypto assets.
  • How the Treasury can partner with the private sector to combat illicit finance.

The Treasury also asked to know how blockchain analytics tools can help improve its AML/CFT compliance process and how it can curtail illicit risks should a U.S. CBDC roll out.

U.S. moves to regulate crypto

U.S. Federal agencies, including the Treasury, are gearing up to provide a coordinated action plan to regulate the crypto industry.

On September 17, The White House released its framework to address crypto regulation, crypto fraud, and the feasibility of developing a Digital Dollar.

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Ongoing discussion in the U.S. Congress hints at plans to allow the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to regulate cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin and Ethereum.

SEC chairman Gary Gensler supported the motion, adding that he would give the CFTC greater control over the crypto market “as long as it does not take away power from the SEC.”

CBDCs

China arrests 93 people suspected of laundering 40B RMB via crypto

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China arrests 93 people suspected of laundering 40B RMB via crypto

China arrests 93 people suspected of laundering 40B RMB via crypto Oluwapelumi Adejumo · 5 hours ago · 1 min read

Chinese authorities also busted a money laundering operation in Fujian where criminals used the digital yuan to launder 200 million RMB.

1 min read

Updated: September 26, 2022 at 11:11 am

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

China’s Hengyang County Public Security Bureau arrested 93 suspects involved in laundering 40 billion RMB via cryptocurrencies, local media reported on Sept. 25.

According to the report, the criminal group was involved in more than 300 cases of fraud and had been operating since 2018.

Authorities in the county started investigations after the director of the County Public Security Bureau, Liu Xialong, was defrauded of 7.8 million yuan. An in-depth investigation showed that the criminal group has a vast network of collection operations in places such as Guangdong, Fujian, etc.

It was revealed that the authorities also seized 300 million RMB and 100 mobile phones from the suspects.

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Investigations revealed that the group led by Hong Moumou converted the funds obtained from gambling and fraud into cryptocurrencies before laundering them into U.S. dollars.

Authorities bust digital yuan money laundering operation

Another local report revealed that the Chinese authorities also busted a money laundering operation in Fujian where criminals used the digital yuan to launder 200 million RMB.

According to the report, the criminal operation was led by Zhang Moumou and Lai Moumou. They used the national digital currency for various illegal activities like providing funding for gambling, fraud, etc.

China ups ante on digital yuan adoption

The Chines government is working to increase the adoption rate of the digital yuan by expanding the currency into four more provinces — Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hebei, and Sichuan — as a local means of payment.

According to SCMP, the digital yuan is tested in over 20 cities and regions. A top official of China’s apex bank, Fan Yifei, noted that the number of digital yuan users and the amount of transactions it is processing is “steadily growing”

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Meanwhile, with China steadily working towards a nationwide launch of the CBDC, other countries have also attempted to explore a digital version of their national currency.

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Iran to launch CBDC on Sept. 22

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Iran to launch CBDC on Sept. 22

Iran to launch CBDC on Sept. 22 Christian Nwobodo · 46 mins ago · 1 min read

The digital currency — dubbed “Crypto-Rial” — will leverage blockchain technology to turn the Iranian Rial banknotes into cryptocurrency.

1 min read

Updated: September 21, 2022 at 1:22 pm

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has finalized plans to launch its digital currency Sept. 22, as reported by Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

The digital currency dubbed “Crypto-Rial” will leverage blockchain technology to turn the Iranian Rial banknotes into cryptocurrency.

The CBI Governor earlier said:

“The bank has in place the infrastructure and rules for the Crypto-Rial. The cryptocurrency is planned as a new type of national currency, like banknotes and coins, but fully digital.”

According to the CBI, the Crypto Rial will help improve financial inclusion in the country and function as a tool to help the economy compete with other stable currencies globally.

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The CBI explained that the Crypto-Rial has been designed to optimize for top-level security. Assets held in smartphone wallets can be tracked in the event of an attack by bad actors.

Iran becoming pro-crypto

At the start of 2022, Iran allowed businesses to settle cross-border payments using cryptocurrency through the Central Bank’s crypto platform.

Iran solidified its stance on crypto after it completed its first foreign trade deal of import goods worth $10 million using cryptocurrency on Aug. 9.

Minister of Industry Mines and Trade Reza Fatemi Amin said on Aug. 29 that local businesses are allowed by law to complete their import trade transactions using cryptocurrency.

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India’s central bank plans CBDC launch in 2022 with help from fintechs, public banks

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India’s central bank plans CBDC launch in 2022 with help from fintechs, public banks

India’s central bank plans CBDC launch in 2022 with help from fintechs, public banks Cynthia Chung · 5 hours ago · 2 min read

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is currently consulting fintech companies and asked four public sector banks to pilot India’s CBDC project later this year.

2 min read

Updated: September 7, 2022 at 7:02 pm

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Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is engaged in talks with fintech companies and four public sector banks to pilot Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project, with a potential launch planned later in 2022, Moneycontrol reported Sept. 5.

Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) is reportedly one of the companies the central bank is consulting. FIS offers banks a central infrastructure payment solutions to build or update their real-time payments systems as well as a CBDC Virtual Lab to support countries to pilot CBDC programs, according to an Aug. 25 news release.

The fintech company is advising central banks on CBDC topics such as offline and programmable payments, money regulations, financial inclusion, and cross-border CBDC payments.

Julia Demidova, senior director at FIS, told Moneycontrol:

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“FIS has had various engagements with the RBI…and, of course, our connected ecosystem could be extended to the RBI to experiment various CBDC options”

Full steam ahead for CBDC launch

In a speech on the federal budget in February, India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, announced that it will launch a CBDC this year. She claims it will be the digital form of the physical rupee that can be exchanged for one another and will be regulated by the RBI.

Following Sitharaman’s speech, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said RBI’s CBDCs will become India’s official and legal tender. He added that the Indian government does not recognize private cryptocurrencies as legal tender, but a 30% crypto tax will be applied if citizens wish to hold the asset. All non-RBI-issued cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ether, are considered private cryptocurrencies.

In May, the RBI proposed to adopt a “graded approach” to launch India’s CBDC in its annual report 2021-22, stating:

The Reserve Bank proposes to adopt a graded approach to introduction of CBDC, going step by step through stages of proof of concept, pilots and the launch.

On July 18, Sitharaman made further comments on cryptocurrencies on behalf of RBI, expressing concerns about the “destabilizing effect of cryptocurrencies on the monetary and fiscal stability of a country” and said a legislative framework should be implemented in the sector.

“RBI is of the view that cryptocurrencies should be prohibited,” she added.

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