In remarks to an audience at CoinDesk Consensus in New York, U.S. Treasury Department Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker called on the cryptocurrency industry to do more to comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) regulations. During that speech, she suggested that industry actors have a duty to serve U.S. national security, Yahoo Finance reports.
According to Mandelker, the U.S. Treasury Department has received tens of thousands of crypto-related suspicious activity reports in the last six years. She claimed that half of those reports had been filed by “virtual currency exchangers or administrators themselves. It should be viewed as a duty serving our national security.”
The Under Secretary also noted the need for continued vigilance about threats to the United States, citing the terror group Hamas’ announcement several months ago that it would be accepting donations in Bitcoin. She suggested that cryptocurrency’s most desirable benefits could attract bad actors:
“Some of the features that appeal most to users and businesses, like speed of transfers, rapid settlement, global reach, and increased anonymity can also create opportunities for rogue regimes and terrorists.”
Mandelker highlighted the way states like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are looking to cryptocurrencies as a way to bypass U.S. sanctions, and stressed the need for enforcing tight AML standards on a global scale. She also urged industry actors to do more to prevent illicit use of cryptocurrency:
Mandelker says it is critical that the crypto currency industry comply with its obligations. She calls it a duty to serve the interests of national security. She told those gathered at the Consensus conference “If your business is to succeed and thrive, then your business model needs to be built on a strong foundation of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance from the very beginning.”