US authority postpones controversial crypto law until change of government

Partial success – US authority postpones controversial crypto law until change of government

The extension of the comment period not only buys the industry time, but also a whole new bargaining chip.

After a flood of feedback, the US Treasury Department’s anti-money laundering agency has now extended the comment period for its proposed crypto transaction monitoring law.

Accordingly, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced yesterday (Thursday) that the window for further feedback will be extended. The bill in question was entered two days before Christmas, barely a month before the impending change of government, which triggered fierce headwinds regarding the Bitcoin Sunrise timing, in addition to criticism of the content of the proposal.

The amendment would lower the reporting threshold for crypto payment service providers, such as crypto exchanges, for transactions with self-managed crypto wallets. This would make interaction with such wallets more difficult or more unpleasant, which is why the crypto community sees this as an attack on the basic peer-to-peer (P2P) idea of cryptocurrencies.

The original period for feedback was only 15 days, many of which were again public holidays, which had increased the criticism of the submission all the more. Yesterday’s extension is thus a first partial success for the crypto industry in the debate about the controversial law. For its part, the agency writes: „FinCEN welcomes the many feedbacks and has already reviewed more than 7,500 comments submitted to date.“

Janet Yellen taking over from Steven Mnuchin

With the change of administration from Trump to Biden only five days away, there will be a change of leadership for FinCEN as well. All signs point to Janet Yellen taking over from Steven Mnuchin as the new Treasury Secretary. Although some suggest that Yellen may be as restrictive on the crypto industry as her predecessor, the expansion of the comment period is not only a partial success in terms of content, but also in terms of timing, as the new administration could possibly bring with it a new direction for the Treasury Department and its agencies.

In its extension, FinCEN seems to take into account that a distinction should be made with regard to the type and manner of crypto-transactions. For example, its proposal requires that for all deposits and withdrawals over $10,000, information about the transaction must be obtained or passed on to the authority. In the case of international payments flowing into or out of the USA, the obligation to obtain and pass on information applies from as little as 3,000 US dollars.

For the US$10,000 threshold, FinCEN allows 15 additional days for feedback, while for the US$3,000 threshold, 45 more days of comments can be submitted:

„FinCEN is granting 15 additional days of feedback for crypto transactions greater than or aggregated greater than $10,000 involving self-managed wallets and wallets that fall within FinCEN’s purview. In addition, FinCEN is providing 45 additional days of feedback for the requirement that banks and payment service providers obtain and retain information about international payments.“

FinCEN had not yet responded to an enquiry from Cointelegraph at press time.

In addition, the agency has recently put forward yet another proposal that seeks to achieve disclosure of international crypto assets greater than US$10,000.