Senators Call for Digital Currency Oversight in Anti-Money Laundering Bill

A pair of US senators have filed a new anti-money laundering bill aimed at beefing up oversight of digital currency activities.

AccessTimeIconMay 31, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:24 p.m. UTC

A pair of US senators have filed a new anti-money laundering bill aimed at beefing up oversight of digital currency activities.

The bill – the Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Counterfeiting Act of 2017 – was filed last week by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Diane Feinstein of California.

Among the changes, according to a draft text of the bill, are additions to definitions for "financial institutions", which, if the bill is passed, would include "any digital currency exchanger or tumbler". Additionally, the bill clarifies that any "issuer, redeemer or cashier" of a "digital currency" is also covered.

While not explicitly spelled out as such, the bill moves bitcoin and other digital currencies closer to being defined as a "monetary instrument" under US anti-money laundering statutes, as it targets "funds stored in a digital format", according to a summary published by Grassley's office.

Beyond the regulatory adjustment, the bill seeks information from the US Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency about its policies on digital currencies.

Specifically, it calls for a report "detailing a strategy to detect prepaid access devices and digital currency at border crossings and ports of entry". This report – which would be due 18 months after the ostensible passage of the bill – is also required to include details about how such a strategy would be implemented.

The bill's release comes shortly after a member of the US House of Representatives called for a study into virtual currency use for terrorism financing.

A full copy of the bill can be found below:

Image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.