The Bank Secrecy Act
It’s time to scale down, not up.
“There is a principle in design that in order to optimize the system, to maintain the most positive outcome, we have to sub-optimize the sub-systems,” crypto compliance expert Juan Llanos said during this week’s episode of the Money Reimagined podcast. “That means we may have to learn to live with a little money laundering. We might have to live with the risk that someone in Somalia might be a criminal trying to get through the cracks.”
A more open mind from regulators toward cryptographic technologies that help regulators manage system-wide risks without imposing strict identity requirements on everyone would also be welcome. Research by the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab into how to identify system risks within otherwise anonymous bitcoin transaction flows offers one potential way forward.
The test is whether policymakers can respond to the human cost of the existing approach.
“Is this the system that really promotes prosperity in our world?” C-Labs General Counsel Brynly Llyr asked during the same podcast episode. “I mean, yes, money laundering is very serious, tax evasion is very serious, but when we look at the remittance markets and the folks who are relying on … transfers of $50 and $100 ... is this really what we want our system to be cracking down on? Is this the best use of our resources?”