US lawmakers applaud defense funding bill over digital currency inclusion

Three U.S. senators have applauded the nation’s annual defense bill for the inclusion of a bipartisan anti-money laundering legislation. The legislation will encompass digital currencies, requiring entities to include them in their anti-money laundering efforts.

In a joint statement, Mark Warner of Virginia, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, and Doug Jones of Alabama applauded the inclusion of their AML legislation on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The three introduced the Illicit Cash Act in September as part of the NDAA to combat illicit financial activity.

One of the areas the Illicit Cash Act seeks to address is digital currencies. It calls for the “the inclusion of current and future payment systems in the AML-CFT regime by updating the definition of “coins and currency” to include digital currency.”

The Act amended the NDAA’s definition from “currency or funds denominated in the currency of any country” to “currency, funds or value that substitute for currency or funds.”

Sen. Warner, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated that the Act will put an end to the secrecy that allows criminals to exploit the U.S. banking system to launder funds. His colleague, Sen. Rounds remarked:

“I’m pleased that our anti-money laundering legislation was included as a part of this year’s NDAA. This bipartisan legislation protects Americans by depriving criminals and terrorists of the tools they use to finance illicit activity. It is the first serious overhaul of our anti-money laundering system in decades, and it makes sense to include it in the biggest, most important national defense legislation Congress passes each year.”

Whether the NDAA will sail through remains unknown, with outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to veto it recently. Trump wants the Act to include a measure eliminating a federal law that protects tech firms such as Twitter and Facebook. Known as Section 230, it indemnifies the companies against liability over the contents its users post.

The Illicit Cash Act is one in a number of measures U.S. legislators have taken to regulate digital currencies. As CoinGeek reported, a lawmaker recently introduced the Stable Act that seeks to regulate stablecoin issuers. The Act will require these issuers to obtain bank charters and adhere to banking sector regulations.

See also: U.S. Rep. Darren Soto’s keynote talk at CoinGeek Live on Balancing Innovation & Regulation for Growth of Blockchain Technology

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