Crypto travel rule fails to meet FATF standards, says report

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued a renewed call urging countries to adopt and implement the “Travel Rule” as a vital measure to combat money laundering and terrorism financing facilitated through cryptocurrencies.

On June 23, the United Nations body responsible for promoting strategies against money laundering and terrorist financing highlighted that a significant number of member states have yet to implement the rule.

Addressing anonymity

A survey conducted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in March 2022 has revealed concerning levels of compliance with the travel rule requirements. Out of the 98 jurisdictions surveyed, only 29 had successfully met the necessary requirements, and even among those, only a small subset had taken enforcement actions.

These findings underscore the pressing need for increased efforts to ensure broader adoption and stricter enforcement of the travel rules.

The travel rule implemented by FATF specifically addresses the issue of anonymity in illicit cryptocurrency transactions. Introduced in June 2019 and most recently updated in June 2022, the rule aims to tackle the problem of anonymity associated with such transactions. During recent meetings, FATF members have agreed to further updates, signaling their ongoing commitment to enhancing the effectiveness of these rules.

Moreover, during the latest plenary session, members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reached several significant agreements and updates on various fronts. Among them, FATF members decided to publish the fourth targeted update on the implementation of the FATF Recommendations concerning virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.

Regulation still necessary

The reiteration of this rule comes at a time when several UN member countries are continuing to crackdown on digital asset regulation.

Earlier this month, the U.S. cryptocurrency sector experienced a wave of unease following actions taken by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The regulatory body intensified its crackdown by filing lawsuits against two major cryptocurrency exchange operators, Binance and Coinbase, citing various allegations, including engaging in the unregistered offer and sale of securities.

Across the pond, the European Union (EU) also introduced a comprehensive regulatory framework for crypto-assets, crypto-assets issuers, and crypto-asset service providers. The Council has adopted a regulation on markets in crypto-assets (MiCA), marking the first EU-level legal framework for this sector.

Expressing her satisfaction, Elisabeth Svantesson, the minister for Finance of Sweden, emphasized the fulfillment of their commitment to regulate the crypto-assets sector, highlighting many of the recent events that have underscored the urgent need for imposing rules to safeguard European investors and prevent the exploitation of the crypto industry for illicit activities such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

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