Crypto Provisions Dropped From 2023 U.S. Defense Bill

The military-linked bill is viewed as must-pass legislation, so lawmakers sometimes try to tack on other things to get them passed, too.

AccessTimeIconDec 8, 2023 at 10:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 6:28 p.m. UTC

Two crypto provisions addressing anti-money-laundering concerns were dropped from a joint version of the National Defense Authorization Act, a military-funding bill viewed as must-pass legislation, ending a backdoor effort to get digital-asset rules passed this year in the U.S.

According to a joint bill published Thursday by lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate, provisions that would create an anti-money-laundering examination standard for crypto assets and require a report analyzing the use of privacy coins or other "anonymity-enhancing technologies" in crypto were dropped. The House of Representatives version of the NDAA did not contain the provisions that the Senate version did.

The NDAA details the military budget for the upcoming year, though as one of the U.S.'s few must-pass bills, it's often amended with various other provisions.

Senate amendments included one for the Secretary of the Treasury "to establish a risk-focused examination and review process for financial institutions" to look at whether reporting obligations for crypto assets under money-laundering rules were adequate and whether firms were compliant.

The other would direct the Treasury Department to produce and publish a report on the use of mixers and tumblers, the magnitude of transactions using privacy tools, the extent to which sanctioned entities might be using those tools and more.

It would also direct the Treasury to come up with "recommendations for legislation or regulation relating to the technologies and services described."

Later on Thursday, Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced a bill intended to expand U.S. sanctions rules to any parties that "facilitate financial transactions with terrorists," naming Hamas as one key example.

The bill focuses much of its attention on "foreign digital asset companies" that might process or otherwise support transactions to terror groups.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.