FinCEN Bill Passes House of Representatives, More Crypto Investigations Coming?

FinCEN Bill Passes House of Representatives

The House of Representatives passed the FinCEN Improvements Act of 2018. Though the bill still must be passed by Congress and signed by the President in order to be enacted, the bill provides FinCEN authority to coordinate with various law enforcement agencies to address money laundering and illicit financial activity.

Specifically, three substantive changes will occur. First, the network will be able to cover terrorism, and not just international terrorism. Second, it identifies that FinCEN should work with tribal law enforcement agencies, including federal state, and local enforcement agencies. Finally, it adds that FinCEN’s data collection and analysis efforts will include cryptocurrency – or as the bill specifically states, “matters involving emerging technologies or value that substitutes for currencies.”

The bill further adds, “although the use and trading of virtual currencies are legal practices, some terrorists and criminals, including international criminal organizations, seek to exploit vulnerabilities in the global financial system and are increasingly using emerging payment methods such as virtual currencies to move illicit funds.”

Representative Ed Perlmutter, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, stated:

Identifying and combating the financing of terrorism and other illicit activity is key to keeping the U.S. safe. We need to be prepared and stay vigilant as we examine how terrorists and criminals use cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies as well as traditional financing methods. This legislation will help FinCEN and our law enforcement agencies better understand potential threats and adapt to the continually changing landscape.

At this point, it will be interesting to see how the senate and the President will address the bill.

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