Bitcoin continues to gain support from major companies that have recently unveiled plans of accepting bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment forms. Yet concerns on how the U.S. Treasury Department plans to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies still loom as potential factor that could affect the benefits of using crypto money for online transactions.
Prior to President Biden’s assumption of office, the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement (FinCen) put forward a proposed rule to the Treasury Department. The FinCen rule recommends requiring all businesses handling money services to collect information about the identity of their respective customers. The proposed rule, specifically mention the inclusion of cryptocurrency exchange operators, for which the collection of information will also include those pertaining to other individuals with whom their customers transacted using the ewallet of the cryptocurrency exchange site. .
Moreover, the proposed rule published in December by the U.S. FinCen, require licensed businesses to maintain a record of all cryptocurrency transactions amounting to more than $3,000; as well as submit a report of the record to the government, if the a specific transaction involves a transfer of $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
While the rule has not yet been adopted, the possibility that stipulations cited will be enforced by the Treasury Department now headed by Biden’s appointee, Janet Yellen. Although Ms. Yellen conveyed in the Senate Appointment Committee that she is open to the regulated use of cryptocurrency, she made it clear that intends to curtail the use of cryptocurrency in the country. Many believe that is is unlikely that the new Treasury Secretary will scrap the proposed rule, but instead, will support its enforcement.
The pronouncement of course validated the concerns over the potential regulation of cryptocurrency in the U.S.
Atty. Marta Belcher, a special counsel for the non-profit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the FinCen Ruling, will make it difficult for people who use self-hosted wallet to remain anonymous when transacting with cryptocurrency users who use traditional storage or exchange services.
Atty Belcher asserted that the most important advantage of using cryptocurrency is the ability to keep one’s identity protected via secrecy part of cryptocurrency, from a civil liberties perspective, is the ability to transact anonymously online. FinCen’s proposed ruling will take away the ability to maintain privacy protections, particularly the secrecy of the cash being imported it into the online world.
Many cryptocurrency miners initially thought that FinCen’s latest ruling will not affect their crypto currency mining operations in light of an earlier ruling that FinCen issued in 2014. The said ruling excluded cryptocurrency miners from being recognized as Money Service Businesses. The 2014 ruling was mainly based on the premise that their mining activities are mainly for their personal use and not for purposes of trading crypto money to other users or potential investors.
While cryptocurrency miners keep their rewards stored in their self-hosted wallets in order to maintain anonymity, It became apparent that the new FinCen ruling will affect their ability to use such rewards without having to reveal their identity and that of the users who will receive their mined rewards.