Anti-money laundering a digital currency priority for US Treasury nominee

The nominee for U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said anti-money laundering in the digital currency sector was a priority, as he awaits confirmation to the role.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Nelson said he would make implementing new anti-money laundering legislation a top priority as he moved into the post.

“If I am confirmed, I will prioritize implementing that piece of legislation, including new regulations around cryptocurrency.”

Nelson had previously served as deputy chief of staff in the national security division of the U.S. Justice Department. His comments are seen as being in line with the official view from President Joe Biden and the current U.S. administration.

Charles Rettig, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), said back in June that the U.S. would require the authority of congress to issue new rules around digital currencies.

“The most recent market cap in that world—the crypto world—exceeded $2 trillion and more than 8,600 exchanges worldwide. And by design, most crypto, virtual currencies are designed to stay off the radar screen, so—we will be challenged.”

Just days later, the Department of Justice said it would be treating ransomware attacks with the same priority as acts of terrorism, following the high profile Colonial Pipeline attack, which saw the firm submitting to a substantial ransom request.

The links between digital currency and terrorism financing were also being reported this month in the Wall Street Journal, with reports that a senior Hamas official had briefed journalists the group was accepting donations in BTC during recent conflicts with Israel.

“There was definitely a spike [in BTC donations]. Some of the money gets used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.”

Nelson is expected to be approved by the Senate Banking Committee and to assume post shortly thereafter. 

See also: SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce discusses “Blockchain Policy Matters” with Bitcoin Association’s Jimmy Nguyen

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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