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OCC Clarifies Rules for National Banks Engaging in Cryptocurrency Activity

On November 18, 2021, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published Interpretive Letter #1179. This is the fourth interpretive letter in a series (1170, 1172, &1173) that discusses if it is permissible for National Banks and Federal Savings Associations to engage in certain cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, and stablecoin activities. OCC Interpretive Letter… Read more

Liquid Exchange Loses Over $90 Million in Warm Wallet Hack

On August 18, hackers stole a little over $90M* in more than 69 different cryptocurrencies and tokens from Japan-based exchange Liquid Global. Liquid’s teams have yet to release a postmortem detailing the attack vector used by the hacker. While about $16 million in assets from more centralized tokens have already been frozen according to Liquid,… Read more

Senate Rejects Crypto Compromise— Infrastructure Bill passes without clarification on crypto

TLDR: On the morning of August 10, the US Senate passed the now infamous Infrastructure Bill (HR 3684) which, in its current state, suggests implementing tighter rules on any business that handles cryptocurrency such as reporting gains and expanding reporting requirements for what is loosely defined as cryptocurrency “brokers.” After a single senator objected to…

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Second 12-Month Review of the Revised FATF Standards on Virtual Assets and Virtual Asset Service Providers

On July 5, 2021, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed its second 12-month review of the implementation of its revised Standards on virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. This review looks at how jurisdictions and the private sector have implemented the revised Standards since the FATF’s first 12-month review. The FATF’s first 12-month…

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FinCEN Issues First National AML/CFT Priorities: Crypto at Top of the List

On June 30, FinCEN issued its first ever list of priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) policy. These Priorities are intended to assist financial institutions in their efforts to meet their AML/CFT obligations. The final revised regulations are set to come out within the next 180 days, as required by…

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Case Study: Hydra—Russia’s Largest Dark Market

Launched in 2015, Hydra is the most prominent Russian darknet market and likely the largest darknet market in the world. Hydra is Russian in origin and serves the following countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Moldova. Hydra became the top Russian darknet market in 2017, after the closure of RAMP…

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Virtual Asset Regulations: Outcomes of the FATF Plenary, 20-25 June 2021

On June 25, global anti-money laundering watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) completed a much anticipated plenary in which delegates finalized work in a number of important regulatory reports and guidance affecting Virtual Asset Service Providers worldwide. While a majority of the work finalized in this plenary won’t be released until the end of…

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SANCTIONS ALERT: Russian Crypto-Related Designations for US Election Interference

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On April 15, 2021, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 16 individuals and 16 entities for attempting to undermine and influence the 2020 US presidential election. The sanctions list includes Russian officials, proxies, and intelligence agencies linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA)—a Russian “troll farm”…

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Canada Updates KYC Identity Verification Guidance for VASPs

On March 23, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) updated its Know Your Customer (KYC) guidance on money services businesses (MSBs) and foreign money services businesses (FMSBs). FINTRAC classifies Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) as MSBs, meaning they too must comply with these new guidelines under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act… Read more

New US Administration Plans to Encourage Legitimate Use of Crypto, Curtail Criminal Use

During her confirmation hearing on January 19, Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s pick for Secretary of the Treasury, stated “many” cryptocurrencies are “a particular concern” when it comes to terrorism and criminal financing. This statement was in response to a question on how the US can curtail the use of emerging technology, such as crypto, in illicit financing.   On January 21, Yellen released  written responses to additional…

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