There are signs that the US is finally taking steps to rein in the cryptocurrency market, which has long been regarded as a financial Wild West by regulators and Wall Street analysts.

Last week, the US Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) took its first action against a cryptocurrency trader for violating the Bank Secrecy Act’s (BSA’s) registration and reporting requirements.

The trader, one Eric Powers, is accused of processing a high number of suspect transactions without filing suspicious activity reports (SARs), as is required under anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations.

According to FinCEN, many of the transactions also involved an exchange of currency worth over $10,000, without Powers filing the necessary currency transaction reports (CTRs).

Meanwhile, authorities in New York State have chalked up their first conviction for money laundering via digital tokens. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted two pharmaceutical dealers for laundering $2.8 million through their website and so-called dark Web channels.

According to AML analytics company ComplyAdvantage, Bitcoin payments were laundered through intermediary wallets, then converted to dollars using an exchange platform. In addition to the digital tokens, the defendants accepted fiat currency via Western Union, which they laundered through false identities or international wire transfers from receivers outside the US.

  • In related UK news, the Treasury has released a consultation document on the Fifth Money Laundering Directive (5MLD), which focuses on the scale of illicit activities involving crypto assets and peer-to-peer payment platforms.

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