November 23, 2017
By C. Edward Kelso - November 23, 2017 (news.bitcoin.com)
In order “to prevent the abuse of the system for criminal and unlawful activities and ensuring the stability and integrity of the financial system,” Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim stated 22 November 2017 that those trading in cryptocurrencies will be placed under the country’s existing anti-money laundering laws.
Joseph Chin of The Star Online reports, “Bank Negara Malaysia is developing the regulatory structure for digital currencies, and from 2018 persons converting crypto currencies into fiat money currencies will come under anti-money laundering law,” he notes. Such persons “would be designated as reporting institutions under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.”
The central bank’s Governor made his remarks at the Third Counter-Terrorism Financing Summit. It’s a four day conference organized by the bank, partnering with “Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, and Indonesia’s Pusat Pelaporan dan Analisis Transaksi Keuangan (PPATK),” the website press release read.
The gathering brings “together more than 350 specialists and professionals from 35 countries and international organisations to share their insights on the latest terrorism financing (TF) issues and developments,” they emphasize.
Mr. Ibrahim’s talk was titled, Readying the Financial Sector Amid the Evolving War on Terrorism Financing, saying in part, “regulators must prepare themselves as digital currencies will become the new norm,” The Star Online paraphrased.
“We must harness the vast potential in technological innovations,” the central banker warned, “to reinvent and reinforce our lines of defence.”
Terrorism in Malaysia has a storied and long history, and is beyond the scope of the present article. But it is safe to write terrorism is something the Malaysian government can claim as a concern, regardless of it as pretext in the case of bitcoin.
“We need new tools,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “The adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data technology are tools that would likely be imperative, as suspicious transactions become more complex and harder to detect,” he listed.
The Star Online notes further how the central bank head “said the advent of digital currencies, as some have forecast, will mark the beginning of a new era in the financial sector.”
One undeniable area of bitcoin’s power resides in its ability to essentially be borderless, allowing those who wish to send money back to their home countries a frictionless experience for the most part.
Mr. Ibrahim is reported to have said “Bank Negara was in the midst of finalising the details of a new requirement for the Banking and Money Services Business sector to report remittances in high risk areas.”
“The high risk areas will be determined based on the law enforcement agency’s intelligence on areas that they view may pose higher risks for funding of terrorism activities,” The Star Online summarized.
The central bank hopes to incorporate more shared international intelligence on suspicious transactions.
As always, what exactly constitutes “high risk areas” and “suspicious transactions” is often left vague by government regulators. It appears to be the same in Malaysia.
A resident of Malaysia told news.bitcoin.com, “Laws are more like guidelines in Malaysia, the people just make their own decisions on what they want to follow. Even if crypto was banned people wouldn’t care. Technically [the song] ‘Despacito’ is banned in Malaysia,” he laughed.
Images courtesy of: Pixabay, BNM. Marcel Chuo contributed sourcing for this article.
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November 11, 2017
By Lisa Froelings - November 11, 2017 (cointelegraph.com)
US Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that his department is conducting an investigation on the illegal applications of the leading cryptocurrency Bitcoin. He claimed that the probe is intended to ensure that the digital currency is not utilized for “unlawful purposes.”
During an interview with Yahoo Finance as of early November 2017, the secretary claimed that the alleged illicit use of Bitcoin should be reviewed “very carefully” to make sure that the dark web is not financed in Bitcoin.
"So we want to make sure that you don't have the dark web funded in Bitcoins. And that's something that is a concern of ours today."
Actions by the agency on cryptocurrencies
Earlier, the Treasury department announced a plan to assess the digital currency practices of the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
In the same announcement, the agency claimed that the audit is related to FinCEN’s strategy in addressing money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with cryptocurrencies.
“We plan to determine how FinCEN identifies, prioritizes, and addresses money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with virtual currencies."
Meanwhile, Mnuchin claimed in the interview that the issues involving the use of Bitcoin are also being discussed with their international counterparts. He further stated that dealers of the top-dog virtual currency in the US should meet the requirements of know-your-customer (KYC) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). These requirements are intended to prevent or counter money laundering activities and fraud in the country.
“So if you’re a Bitcoin dealer in the United States, you have the…customer requirements and BSA requirements. And those are issues I’m discussing with all my international counterparts. So our number one issue is, we wanna make sure that this is not used for illicit transfers of funds.”