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US House of Representatives passes bill requiring FinCEN to study blockchain and AI

Wed, 25 Sep 2019, 12:25 pm UTC

The United States House of Representatives has passed a new bill that requires the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to study emerging technologies including blockchain.

On September 19, the House passed the bill, entitled “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act,” which has now moved to the Senate for consideration, CoinDesk reported.

The bill mandates FinCEN’s director to carry out a study on the use of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies within the bureau.

The focus of the study should be on the current status of implementation and internal use of these technologies within the bureau and determining how they can be leveraged to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of FinCEN’s data analysis.

The Director of FinCEN shall carry out a study on “…how FinCEN could better utilize AI, digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies to more actively analyze and disseminate the information it collects and stores to provide investigative leads to Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement, and other Federal agencies (collective, “Agencies”), and better support its ongoing investigations when referring a case to the Agencies,” the bill reads.

The bill was introduced by Freshman Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R) Ohio, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, in May.

“My bill makes sure that we are using the best technology we have available to find and stop the money laundering that makes all these crimes not only possible, but financially profitable for cartels, traffickers, and terrorists,” Gonzalez said.

In May 2019, FinCEN published guidance, Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Certain Business Models Involving Convertible Virtual Currencies (CVC), which explains the regulatory treatment of multiple variations of businesses dealing in convertible virtual currencies.

Speaking at the NYU Law Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement in June, FinCEN Director Kenneth A. Blanco said:

“To us, there is no question that the technology in this [virtual currency] sector has the potential to fundamentally change traditional payment systems, the way we do business, and people’s everyday lives.

“Innovation in financial services is a great thing, from ATMs and online banking to more, recent automated services and mobile payment applications. We support and encourage innovation, but it must be responsible innovation.”

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