Značka: Money Laundering

Cyprus’ finance ministry recommends ‘capacity building’ for crypto

Cyprus is moving to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, with the country’s finance ministry releasing a national risk assessment on crypto.Published on Dec. 13, the official documentation provides a risk assessment for the Republic of Cyprus regarding money laundering risks related to virtual asset activities and virtual asset service providers (VASPs).The Ministry of Finance of Cyprus stressed that there is a “limited direct understanding or experience” regarding money laundering risks of crypto in the country.However, authorities like Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and local enforcement authorities have demonstrated a “sophisticated level of understanding of the sector,” the statement notes. The authorities should further explore the market and receive “in-depth training on these issues” to enhance their skills, the ministry stated.The ministry also recommended local financial companies “adopt written policies and procedures to comply” with the wire transfer rule for virtual currencies. In the meantime, authorities should start to maintain and share data that is specific to virtual currencies and VASPs, the ministry said, adding:“Although activity levels now are believed to be negligible, this will enable an evidence-based baseline as activities increase, promoting earlier detection of risks or changes to risk levels.”The authority noted that Cyprus should actively collaborate with other jurisdictions experienced in the crypto industry in order to learn from these relationships and identify the best practices. “Such international cooperation could be an important channel for Cyprus to strengthen and accelerate its capacity building for the VA/VASP sector,” the ministry wrote.Related: Israel reportedly adopts new AML rules for cryptoOne of the world’s most uncertain countries in terms of cryptocurrency regulation, Cyprus has been moving to adopt crypto-related regulations this year. In September, CySEC reportedly disclosed new details of crypto regulation policies, planning to increase cryptocurrencies by integrating European Union’s Anti Money-Laundering rules into the Cypriot laws.The Cypriot crypto ecosystem is associated with significant uncertainty as some major financial institutions including the Bank of Cyprus were allegedly blocking Bitcoin (BTC)-related transactions this year, according to reports on social media.

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House memo details Congress' priorities ahead of crypto CEO hearing

The United States House Committee on Financial Services released a memorandum detailing the points of discussion during the hybrid hearing on digital assets, to be held today at 10:00 a.m. ET.Addressing the members of the Financial Services Committee, the memo confirmed that the hearing will dedicate one panel to six executives from the crypto community as witnesses. The list includes Circle’s Jeremy Allaire, FTX’s Samuel Bankman-Fried, Bitfury Group’s Brian Brooks, Paxos’ Charles Cascarilla, Stellar’s Denelle Dixon and Coinbase’s Alesia Jeanne Haas.The hearing, entitled “Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States,” seeks to discuss four key aspects related to crypto exchanges: stablecoin offerings, regulatory concerns in digital assets and federal regulatory responses.The brief reads, “This hearing will examine some of the new products and services offered by major digital assets market participants, the role of cryptocurrency market exchanges in facilitating investments in cryptocurrency and related transactions, the growth of stablecoins and other digital assets, and the current regulatory landscape governing these new products and services.”BREAKING ‼️Chairwoman @RepMaxineWaters Announces #Cryptocurrency CEOs to Testify at Full Committee Hearing | https://t.co/6IBi6jGNAC pic.twitter.com/r4kJqjmhqu— U.S. House Committee on Financial Services (@FSCDems) December 1, 2021While the memo highlights the role of exchanges in serving as an entry point for crypto investors, the hearing will also discuss decentralized finance, given its potential to “replicate and replace conventional delivery of financial services such as loans, asset trading, insurance, and other services.”The document also talks about the differences in operational structures and reserve compositions of stablecoins as compared to fiat currency, adding:“Cryptocurrency markets have no overarching and centralized regulatory framework, leaving investments in the digital assets space vulnerable to fraud, manipulation, and abuse. Digital assets and related service providers can present money laundering, terrorist financing, sanctions evasion, kleptocracy, and other illicit finance risks.”Acknowledging the rise in cryptocurrencies, Congress hopes to develop a clear stance on central bank digital currencies (CBDC) based on the ongoing study conducted by the Federal Reserve to “examine the potential benefits and risks of CBDCs and its impact on the U.S. domestic payments system.”Just yesterday, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire released statements ahead of the hearing, stating:“In a world where money becomes a core feature of the internet, the U.S. should aggressively promote the use of the dollar as the primary currency of the internet, and leverage that as a source of national economic competitiveness, security and a major upgrade needed for more efficient and inclusive financial services.”Allaire’s firm Circle is the sole issuer of dollar-backed stablecoin USD Coin (USDC). He suggested that the U.S. government can make mainstream use of the stablecoin via dollar-denominated reserves. “Policy frameworks need to support an open and competitive playing field, and allow new technologies to flourish,” he added.

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Crypto tumblers, exchanges under microscope as DOJ launches new task force

The White House, under the Biden-Harris administration, introduced a five-pillar strategy to counter corruption as a part of the core United States national security interest. The strategy involves establishing a new task force to address potential illicit activities on crypto exchanges and other services that can serve as avenues for money laundering.With the motive to enhance enforcement of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, as well as criminal and civil laws, the Federal government plans to implement new tools for investigating and prosecuting money laundering offenses. Specifically for cryptocurrencies, “PILLAR THREE: Holding Corrupt Actors Accountable” highlights:“DOJ [Deparment of Justice] will utilize a newly established task force, the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, to focus specifically on complex investigations and prosecutions of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency.”The White House mentioned that the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team would be particularly responsible for overseeing “crimes committed by virtual currency exchanges, mixing and tumbling services, and money laundering infrastructure actors.”The DOJ has also expanded subpoena power for certain financial records maintained abroad while imposing new disclosure requirements for beneficial ownership information. The department also plans to incentivize whistleblowers for sharing information that leads to the identification and seizure of illicit proceeds.Related: House committee announces crypto CEOs will testify at Dec. 8 hearing on digital assetsRunning parallel to the White House’s latest initiative, Representative Maxine Waters, the Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, has invited CEOs of eight major crypto companies to discuss digital assets and the future of finance, to be held on Dec. 8.As Cointelegraph reported, the CEOs of Circle, FTX, Bitfury, Paxos, Stellar Development Foundation, Coinbase and Coinbase Global CFO will be attending the committee hearing.Looking forward to hearing next week with @RepMaxineWaters, ranking member @PatrickMcHenry, and the full committee (@FSCDems) to discuss Crypto and national economic competitiveness for the United States. https://t.co/rVHAvaPMUd— Jeremy Allaire (@jerallaire) December 1, 2021

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