Attorney General Task Force Publishes Crypto Enforcement Framework

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In Brief
  • The US Attorney General has published a framework to address the threats posed by cryptocurrency use.

  • The document is the second by the AG's Cyber Digital Task Force but the first focused exclusively on cryptocurrency.

  • Although largely addressing the illegitimate use of digital currencies, the framework does note the promise the technology may hold for society.

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The US Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force has announced the publication of a crypto enforcement framework.

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The document provides an overview of threats posed by digital currencies, as well as responses to them. The new framework is predominantly focused on the illicit use of cryptocurrencies. However, its authors are careful to note the promise that the technology has for society.

Crypto Has ‘Tremendous Promise for the Future’

The report was announced earlier today, Thursday, Oct 8 by Attorney General William P. Barr. A press release published by the US Department of Justice details the new framework.

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The 83-page document details threats and challenges associated with the use of cryptocurrency. It opens with an essay penned by the chair of the Task Force, Associate Deputy Attorney General Sujit Raman.

Raman makes the case that digital assets may “drive society forward.” However, he also notes that specific usage of such technological advancements could “facilitate great human suffering.”

The framework itself has three distinct sections. The first gives an overview of both illicit and legitimate uses of the technology.

The threat overview categorizes three threats of illicit cryptocurrency use. These are the direct financing of criminal activity using digital currencies; money laundering associated with legitimate activity; and crimes related to the crypto industry itself, such as the hacking of exchange platforms.

The second section discusses the current regulatory and legal options available to the government. It notes growing collaboration between various agencies. These include the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodities Futures Commission.

The report’s final part addresses the challenges the Federal Government faces in terms of enforcement. This section details potentially illegal business practices employed by exchanges, platforms, and casinos, such as those that brought the recent actions against the derivatives platform, BitMEX.

It also addresses activities that can obstruct law enforcement and mentions coin mixing or tumbling explicitly. Europol recently placed such activities in the spotlight when it raised concerns over anonymity-focused cryptocurrencies and wallet software with built-in coin mixing functionalities.

Second Report by the Cyber Digital Task Force

The framework is the second report by the Attorney General’s Cyber Digital Task Force. The agency was established in early 2018 to address the Department of Justice’s response to global cyber threats, as well as methods to improve the efficacy of federal law enforcement to protect the public.

The Task Force published an initial report in 2018. It addressed a range of existing cyber threats from foreign influence in domestic processes to the use of technology to enable schemes by transnational criminal enterprises.

However, Thursday’s document is the first of its kind, as it focuses exclusively on cryptocurrency.

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A former professional gambler, Rick first found Bitcoin in 2013 whilst researching alternative payment methods to use at online casinos. After transitioning to writing full-time in 2016, he put a growing passion for Bitcoin to work for him. He has since written for a number of digital asset publications.

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