The U.S. Treasury is likely to double down on its approach to sanction decentralize finance in 2024, TRM Labs suggests.
As the Biden administration is urging Congress to consider the most significant updates to the Treasury‘s sanctions authority, the crypto market will likely see new updates on this matter in 2024, according to TRM Labs’ recent blog post.
In late November 2023, crypto.news reported that the Treasury apparently wants to expand its regulatory power by introducing a “secondary sanctions regime.” Such sanctions would control a company or person within the U.S. financial system as the crypto market makes it possible for any firm “to do business with a sanctioned target,” recently said U.S. foreign trade representative Wally Adeyemo.
Analysts at TRM Labs suggest that Treasury’s latest efforts might set a precedent for the whole crypto industry as the regulator is set to go after “particular blockchain nodes or networks, rather than requiring that they be a designated person’s property or interest in property.”
“This language builds on the defi [decentralized finance] risk assessment which suggests application of the BSA [Bank of Secrecy Act] to defi.”
Although it is yet to be seen how exactly that regulatory changes might impact the crypto industry, TRM Labs says the market is likely to see Treasury “continue to target anonymity enhancing tools that are being used by cybercriminals.” To back up this suggestion, analysts refer to the recent sanctions imposed by U.S. regulators against crypto mixers like Sinbad (formerly Blender.io), Tornado Cash, ChipMixer as well as Helix and Bitcoin Fog, which advertised their services on darknet markets.
Meanwhile, U.S. senators led by Elizabeth Warren are concerned about the potential for cryptocurrency to be used by groups for illicit fundraising, including terrorism. However, analysts at Chainalysis have publicly questioned the data used in some reports on crypto terrorism, suggesting reports may be overstated.
Chainalysis estimates that only a small fraction of the funds previously reported as used for terrorist financing can be definitively linked to such activities. Specifically, they found that only $450,000 of the $82 million reported in the media could be clearly attributed to terrorism-related funding.