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cryptocurrency anti-money laundering

FinCEN, OFAC Warn VASPs of Potential Sanctions Violations for Allowing Customers to Pay Ransomware

As the severity and sophistication of ransomware attacks continue to rise across various sectors around the world, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence issued two advisories to assist US individuals and businesses in efforts to combat ransomware scams and attacks.  VASPs Face Sanctions Violation Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments  The US Department of the Treasury’s… Read more

FinCEN Doubles Down on Banks’ Crypto Exposure

Taking center stage in a key-note address at the virtual 2020 ACAMS Las Vegas Conference, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco clarified a long-standing confusion banks have had regarding their exposure to cryptocurrencies and the steps they must take the mitigate these risks.  Director Blanco said that FinCEN continues to focus its efforts on a number…

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FATF Releases Virtual Assets Red Flag Indicators of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 

On Monday, September 14, 2020, FATF released a report on Virtual Assets Red Flag Indicators. This report is meant to assist reporting entities, including financial institutions (FIs), designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), and VASPs. The red flag indicators are an excellent start and are mostly focused on indicators of money laundering for VASPs.  The… Read more

Best Practices for Monitoring Virtual Currency-Related Transactions at Your Bank

Existing FinCEN regulations clearly state that it is the responsibility of all financial institutions to identify and report suspicious activity concerning how criminals and other bad actors exploit CVCs for money laundering, sanctions evasion, and other illicit financing purposes. These requirements apply to all financial institutions, even if those financial institutions do not directly buy,… Read more

How Impending Virtual Asset Regulations Impact Banks—Even Those That Don’t Think They Do Crypto

As more mainstream consumer and institutional investors embrace cryptocurrencies, it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for traditional financial institutions to avoid entanglements with the crypto economy. For example, banks face significant counter-party transaction risks from customers interacting with high-risk crypto exchanges—especially when a bank is unable to identify these transactions as to or from…

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Analysis: How Chinese Nationals Linked to North Korea Laundered Hundreds of Millions of Dollars’ Worth of Stolen Cryptocurrency Through Several Banks and Cryptocurrency Exchanges

CipherTrace has previously reported on North Korea using cybercrime to avert economic sanctions and raise hard cash to fund its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) development. For example, in August 2017, we revealed details of a then unreleased UN research report to the Security Council that showed how North Korean state actors had, over a…

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SANCTIONS ALERT: New DRPK Crypto-related Designations

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On March 2, 2020, the following two individuals and their associated digital currency addresses have been added to OFAC’s SDN List. The two Chinese nationals were involved in laundering stolen cryptocurrency from a 2018 cryptocurrency exchange hack and are associated with the Lazarus Group—a North Korean state-sponsored malicious cyber group. LI, Jiadong (Chinese Simplified: 李家东)…

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OCC Hits New York Based Bank With First-Ever Enforcement Action for Lack of Crypto AML Compliance

On January 30, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) issued the first cryptocurrency-related enforcement action against a U.S. bank—M.Y. Safra Bank (MYSB), which is headquartered in New York City. The enforcement action consisted of a cease and desist order that was wholly focused on deficient anti-money laundering (AML) practices for compliance and…

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CipherTrace Announces Travel Rule Information Sharing Architecture (TRISA)

  Two key regulatory bodies recently rocked the foundation of the crypto economy with new guidance that will have major impacts on exchanges and other virtual asset service providers (VASPs). The global anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), recently updated guidance that includes a  “Funds Travel Rule.” In short, the new rule…

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SANCTIONS ALERT: Treasury Targets Chinese Drug Kingpins Fueling America’s Deadly Opioid Crisis

SANCTIONS UPDATE: On August 21, 2019, the following individuals and their associated digital currency addresses have been added to OFAC’s SDN List under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. YAN, Xiaobing (Chinese Traditional: 顏曉兵; Chinese Simplified: 颜晓兵) (a.k.a. “YAN, Steven”; a.k.a. “ZHOU, William”), Wuhan, Hubei, China (Chinese Simplified: 武汉市, 湖北省, China; Chinese Traditional: 武漢市, 湖北省, China); DOB…

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