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Recognizing the growing importance of cryptoassets, the U.S. is taking a number of regulatory and legal steps to ensure the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. They range from increasing research efforts to use cryptoassets in illegal activities to guidance and obligations for taxpayers.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice denounced two Chinese citizens for laundering more than US$100 million in cryptocurrencies through 113 crypto accounts. The illegal act was committed from a hack of a cryptocurrency exchange by North Koreans who were trying to bypass U.S. sanctions.

This decision is the result of an investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the National Police of the Republic of Korea. The U.S. Department of Justice also announced that the agent who laundered the money laundering on the dark net has been charged.

It is important to remember that money laundering through cryptocurrencies and stablecoins leaves a permanent track on the blockchain, unlike cash transactions. Some criminals were arrested a few years after committing the crimes.


Intelligence program for illegal activities

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has developed a new technique for tracking unlicensed cryptocurrency activities. ICE applies more than 400 federal statutes targeting darknet markets to combat the illegal movement of crypto resources. The agency also revealed the existence of a cryptocurrency intelligence program in the agency’s budget proposal for 2021.

The intelligence program will seek to identify unlicensed crypto capital flows that occur in peer-to-peer markets, online forums, exchanges, blockchain-based mobile devices and darknet markets. The program was developed by ICE’s Mass Money Smuggling Center, which identifies, investigates and disrupts cryptocurrency smuggling activities around the world.

In February, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Senate Finance Committee that the agency’s investigative arm would introduce stricter regulations on digital currencies to help expose “secret” accounts and other activities.

The last regulation came from the IRS. According to him, taxpayers must report and pay taxes on capital gains arising from the use of cryptocurrencies. The Internal Revenue Service issued a new form template, asking taxpayers to inform about the purchase and sale of cryptoassets.