The US Government’s Mixed Signals on Digital Currency Privacy

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To look at the U.S. government, it is the best of times and the worst of times for personal financial privacy. 

On the one hand, in comments before the Senate Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his agency’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, is planning stricter regulations on anti-money laundering and crypto. 

At the same time, the CEO of DropBit was arrested on money laundering charges around a bitcoin (BTC) mixing service he allegedly ran between 2014 and 2017. In this new enforcement regime, one of the government’s major partners is Chainalysis, which has won more than $10 million in federal agency contracts since 2015. 

Yet, privacy advocates are also surprisingly enthused by comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who suggested in testimony to Congress that any potential U.S. digital dollar would need to preserve privacy.

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