U.S. FSC to discuss illicit activity in crypto at upcoming hearing

The United States Financial Services Committee (FSC) has scheduled a Nov. 15 hearing for a deep dive into the illicit activities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The hearing, ‘Crypto crime in context: breaking down the illicit activity in digital assets,’ will feature prominent crypto entrepreneurs as attendees.

According to the Committee’s calendar, Mr. Bill Hughes, senior counsel and director of global regulatory matters at Consensys, and Mr. Jonathan Levin, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Chainalysis, will participate in the hearing as witnesses. Former federal officer and human trafficking finance specialist Jane Khodarkovsky will also join the duo as a witness. The Committee memorandum on the hearing clarifies the FSC’s motive:

“To ensure that the digital asset ecosystem is not exploited by bad actors, it is critical that Congress understand the degree to which illicit activity exists, what tools are available to combat this activity and explore any potential gaps to prevent and detect illicit activity.”

Discussions around illicit activity, such as money laundering and terror financing, will take center stage at the hearing. FSC cited a Chainalysis report from January 2023, which states that illicit cryptocurrency volumes reached all-time highs amid a surge in sanctions designations and hacking.

The hearing will also examine the depth of Anti-Money Laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) implemented by crypto exchanges and decentralized finance (DeFi) providers.

In addition, the role of governing entities, including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), will also be discussed at the hearing.

Related: First major success in US Congress for two crypto bills: Law Decoded

In July, Patrick McHenry, the chairman of the FSC, announced the markup of legislation to bring regulatory clarity for the issuance of stablecoins designed to be used for payment.

Parallelly, the DOJ has also decided to double the headcount of its crypto crime team. In the process, the DOJ merged its two teams — the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) — to form the new “super-charged” unit that was tasked to combat ransomware crimes.

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