US Treasury to Audit FinCEN's Cryptocurrency Practices

Stan Higgins
Nov 6, 2017 at 16:45 UTC  |  Updated  Nov 7, 2017 at 09:00 UTC

The U.S. Treasury Department's inspector general is planning to review the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)'s cryptocurrency practices as they relate to money laundering and terrorism financing risks, public records show.

The disclosure was included in the Office of Inspector General (OIG)'s annual plan for the 2018 fiscal year, which was published late last week. Though the details of the planned assessment weren't fleshed out in the report, it's a notable development that comes more than three years after FinCEN began publishing guidance for businesses working with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

As the report stated:

"We plan to determine how FinCEN identifies, prioritizes, and addresses money laundering and terrorist financing risks associated with virtual currencies."

It's also unclear when the OIG will conduct its review. The start of the 2018 fiscal year was Oct. 1, running through Sept. 30 of next year.

Still, the office has weighed in on the subject of cryptocurrencies a number of times in the past, most recently in a note to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Outlining challenges to the government's money-printing services, the OIG indicated that technologies like bitcoin could have a long-term impact on the business model of the U.S. Mint.

Correction: A previous version of this report inaccurately attributed a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) publication to the OIG, a separate body.

U.S. Treasury seal image via Shutterstock

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