Countering Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing: A Case for Bitcoin Regulation
Research in International Business and Finance, Forthcoming
34 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2024
Date Written: December 24, 2023
Bitcoin was created in 2008 to serve as an alternative payment mechanism for both the under-banked and un-banked or those in regions where the formal financial system suffers from broad corruption and efficient regulation. However, criminals and terrorists quickly exploited Bitcoin's unique properties, namely its peer-to-peer nature and pseudo-anonymity, to facilitate extensive terrorist financing and money laundering schemes. Government reactions to safeguard national security interests have been extremely varied, ranging from outright bans to passive tolerance. This inconsistency stems from how to classify Bitcoin effectively. On one side are those who argue Bitcoin is a currency, and on the other are those who claim it is a type of asset. In the US alone, these discrepancies have led to a bureaucratic turf war between different regulatory bodies, namely the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Commodity Futures Trading Association, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Internal Revenue Service. This study seeks to move beyond the existing legal frameworks, arguing that Bitcoin should be classified as a technology and regulation should rest with private sector technology companies.
Keywords: Money laundering; Terrorist Financing; Cryptocurrency; Regulation
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