Trump Views Crypto a Threat, Proposes Countermeasures in New Budget

Trump’s new budget has a few proposals concerning cryptocurrency. The 138-page Budget of the U.S. Government for the Fiscal Year 2021 is his fourth proposed budget to Congress. Regarding cryptocurrency, it proposes returning the U.S. Secret Service to the Department of Treasury.

Established in 1865, the federal law enforcement agency was transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

The White House released the Budget of the U.S. Government on Monday, outlining some proposals to increase cryptocurrency oversight which President Donald Trump views as priorities. The budget proposes giving the Treasury more power over crypto and requests funding for FinCEN to expand its efforts to combat threats including from cryptocurrency.

Increased Crypto Oversight

Trump’s budget states:

Technological advancements in recent decades, such as cryptocurrencies and the increasing interconnectedness of the international financial marketplace, have resulted in more complex criminal organizations and revealed stronger links between financial and electronic crimes and the financing of terrorists and rogue state actors.

The document further reads: “The budget proposes legislation to return the U.S. Secret Service to Treasury to create new efficiencies in the investigation of these crimes and prepare the nation to face the threats of tomorrow.”

Trump Views Crypto a Threat, Proposes Countermeasures in New Budget

Cybercrime is under the purview of the Secret Service, which includes illicit activities involving cryptocurrency, such as cryptojacking and installing crypto mining software, the agency’s website details.

More Power to FinCEN

Trump’s budget also requests $127 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury. Its mission is to combat money laundering and safeguard the country’s financial system from illicit use.

The budget document explains that the bureau “links law enforcement and intelligence agencies with financial institutions and regulators, leading to the discovery and prosecution of money-laundering schemes and other crimes that cause lasting harm to Americans and the economy”, elaborating:

These resources would enhance FinCEN’s protection of data collected under the Bank Secrecy Act, which would increase its value to law enforcement agencies, and expand its efforts to combat emerging virtual currency and cybercrime threats.

FinCEN has already been strictly enforcing its rules on crypto service providers operating money service businesses, including exchanges. Its “travel rule” requires crypto exchanges to verify their users’ identities, identify the original parties and beneficiaries of transfers of $3,000 or higher, and transmit that information to counterparties if they exist.

Furthermore, the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 proposes that FinCEN regulates cryptocurrencies, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulates crypto-commodities and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates crypto-securities.

Just What Trump Wants

While many are criticizing Trump’s new budget, the media reported that it is dead on arrival and largely a political document. During a speech on the Senate floor on Monday, Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi said that he will not hold a hearing on Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget, Politico reported. The chairman added that he did not hold a hearing for former President Barack Obama’s budget either. “Nobody has listened to the president in the 23 years that I’ve been here”, the Wyoming Republican was quoted as saying. “Congress doesn’t pay attention to the president’s budget exercise. I don’t know why we put him through that.”

Trump has always been skeptical of cryptocurrency. “I am not a fan of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air”, he tweeted in July last year. “Unregulated crypto assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”

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