Coin Center challenges FinCEN rules on crypto mixing

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Coin Center criticizes the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) over the “broad” cryptocurrency mixing rule.

Coin Center, a leading nonprofit research and advocacy organization in the cryptocurrency sector, has voiced significant concerns over FinCEN’s recent proposal to categorize certain cryptocurrency transactions as primary money laundering concerns (PMLC). The proposed rule, which focuses on virtual currency mixing, has been criticized by Coin Center as being unprecedented, overly broad, and potentially unconstitutional.

The proposed rule marks the first time in 23 years since the creation of the 311 power by Congress that FinCEN has targeted an entire class of transactions as a PMLC. According to Coin Center, this lack of precedent leaves a gap in legal guidance for reporting entities and individuals whose transactions may inadvertently fall under the PMLC designation, leading to serious economic and reputational consequences.

Coin Center has expressed in a Jan. 22 open letter that the proposed definition of virtual currency mixing is excessively broad, potentially criminalizing legitimate transactions. Defining what constitutes a mixing transaction challenges distinguishing between legitimate privacy measures and illicit activities.

A key point of contention is the rule’s application to domestic transactions. Coin Center argues that the rule, as it stands, does not adequately differentiate between foreign and domestic transactions, potentially subjecting a wide array of domestic activities to unnecessary scrutiny and reporting requirements. The nonprofit asserts this exceeds FinCEN’s statutory authority under the PATRIOT Act, which primarily targets foreign jurisdiction transactions.

Coin Center has raised concerns about the rule’s potential violation of constitutional rights, specifically regarding due process. The organization suggests that individuals and entities involved in legitimate cryptocurrency transactions may face unjustified deprivations of property or liberty without adequate notice or opportunity for a hearing.

In light of these issues, Coin Center urges FinCEN to undertake further notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to address the distinction between domestic and foreign transactions and reconsider the potential impact on legitimate cryptocurrency users. The nonprofit emphasizes the need for clear guidelines and a balanced approach that respects individual rights while addressing money laundering concerns.

The outcome of this rulemaking process could have significant implications for the cryptocurrency industry, particularly concerning privacy and the use of digital currencies for legitimate purposes. As the debate continues, the crypto community and regulatory bodies will closely monitor developments in this critical area of financial regulation.

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