Department of Justice Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework: DOJ Calls for Increased Interagency and International Cooperation in Enforcing Virtual Currency Regulations.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - October 12, 2020

On October 8, 2020, the Attorney General’s Cyber-Digital Task Force issued a “Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework” report (the “Framework”), outlining the Department of Justice’s position on cryptocurrency-related crimes and the role of regulators in enforcement against cryptocurrency-related businesses. While observing that cryptocurrency has “transformative potential,” the Framework notes that cryptocurrency has played an outsized role in financial transactions associated with criminal activity, fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and theft; that strong interagency and international partnerships have led to significant criminal and civil enforcement actions in the cryptocurrency space; and that the Department still faces cryptocurrency enforcement challenges, especially due to decentralized finance business models and anonymity-enhancing activities that may impede scrutiny. Throughout, the Framework emphasizes the need for cryptocurrency-related businesses to comply with applicable anti-money laundering requirements and declares that the Department will assert jurisdiction broadly in order to reach those companies in the United States and in other countries and will coordinate with other federal and state agencies in the exercise of their regulatory authorities.