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US Updates Crypto AML Laws As Crypto Hits New All-time Highs

The United States government has updated its crypto Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws, as the prices of cryptocurrencies has been reaching new all-time highs. 

The new AML/CFT crypto regulations, proposed by the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), if adopted, will require entities covered by AML/CFT, including payments involving “unhosted wallets” (not held by a third-party financial system), to obtain and report the identities of parties engaging in cryptocurrency transactions if the transaction exceeds $3,000.

The required information would include the names and addresses of both the customer and every counterparty related to the transaction. 

The new regulations will also require banks and money service businesses to report the same information for cryptocurrency transactions above $10,000 to FinCEN 15 days from the date on which a reportable transaction occurs. 

The newly proposed crypto regulations were met with backlash from crypto groups and companies like Square, Coinbase, and Kraken, among others. 

Biden Administration: Friendly to Crypto?

As the latest development, new US President Joe Biden, who halted all last-minutes rules from Trump’s administration, has also frozen FinCEN’s proposal relating to crypto wallets, until his new administration can review them. 

Biden’s action seems to be a welcome move for some crypto advocates, coupled with his choice of Gary Gensler for the chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Gensler, former chairman of the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission), taught a 12-week course on cryptocurrency at MIT Sloan in Fall 2018 (“Blockchain and Money”), and has testified before Congress about cryptocurrency multiple times.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $32,715, up 1.6% over the last 24 hours. Ether (ETH), the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has surged significantly to reach a new all-time high at $1,459.93, and is currently trading at $1,435.67, up 14.2%, according to CoinGecko.

The crypto bull run is attracting more institutional investors into the market. As one of the major Bitcoin advocates, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor said he will be hosting a digital conference that will allow a massive number of executives in the US to learn more about Bitcoin and how they can implement it into their businesses. 

“We’re going to have thousands of executives, officers…directors, & advisors of corporations coming together in the first week of February,” Saylor told CNBC in an interview, “they all want to figure out how to plug bitcoin into their balance sheet or their P&L…We’re going to open source it.”

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