Global Money Laundering Watchdog to Establish Crypto-Focused Guidelines by June
The global entity responsible for setting international money laundering guidelines is finally ready to lay the foundation for its first crypto-specific set of rules by June 2018.FATF Readies Global Crypto Regulation on Money LaunderingParis, France-based money laundering watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has seen increasing pressure from global governments to unify regulation of the cryptocurrency industry under its wing. This is rather than continue down the path of allowing countries to define their own approach and create fragmentation across the market.Now, according to Reuters, FATF is preparing to establish the first set of guiding principles for the emerging asset class, to be ready for June of next year.“By June, we will issue additional instructions on the standards and how we expect them to be enforced,” explained Marshall Billingslea, FATF president Marshall Billingslea.Billingslea, who also serves as the assistant secretary for terrorist financing in the U.S. Department of Treasury, added that participating countries will be heavily scrutinized for how they implement the regulatory guidelines set forth by FATF.He suggested that any countries not adhering to the rules could see their access to the global financial market restricted, and be added to a FATF blacklist.FATF will require cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto wallet firms across the globe to become licensed and regulated in an attempt to thwart attempts to launder money using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) will be subject to the same governing policies FATF sets forth.Is Crypto Money Laundering the Risky Situation Regulators Think?While concerns across the globe surrounding criminal efforts to launder money through cryptocurrencies are mounting, there are conflicting reports on how severe an issue cryptocurrency money laundering really is.Data security company CipherTrade released a report in July expecting cryptocurrency money laundering to explode in 2018, reaching $1.5 billion in total – an amount over three times that of 2017’s money laundering total of $266 million.Meanwhile, a recent report from the Wall Street Journal claims only $88 million in cryptocurrency had been laundered across 46 cryptocurrency exchanges, with the bulk of money laundering happening on ShapeShift. Erik Vorhees, ShapeShift’s CEO, refuted the claims.Another report from Japan’s – a country riddled with crypto-related crime, mostly in the form of exchange hacks – National Police Agency, says only 669 cases of cryptocurrency-related money laundering were reported between December and April. This is compared to a staggering 347,000 reports from traditional banks dealing in fiat currencies.Funding terrorist organizations is another chief concern of the money laundering watchdog. However, Yaya Fanusie, director of analysis for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, told Congress last month that terrorist organization have repeatedly failed to raise funds via cryptocurrencies, negating any risk that these organizations were laundering a significant amount of digital assets.Featured image from Shutterstock.