OFAC Escalates Russian Sanctions Listing Bitcoin Addresses, US Treasury Crypto Crackdown Rumors Spread
Rumors concerning the U.S. Treasury cracking down on several financial institutions over money laundering has been spreading like wildfire on social media and forums. There’s been no formal announcement from the U.S. entity and at this stage, the news is widely considered FUD. However, some are assuming the hearsay stems from the recent Russian sanctions announcement last Thursday. On April 15, the U.S. Treasury published a press release explaining government escalated sanctions against the Russian government and the announcement touches upon the use of cryptocurrency addresses for illicit transactions.
U.S. Treasury Rumors Flood Social Media, OFAC Cracks Down on 16 Groups That Allegedly Leveraged Crypto Assets
On social media and cryptocurrency forums, rumors have spread about the U.S. government cracking down on the crypto industry. For instance, a Twitter account called “Fxhedge” tweeted about the U.S. Treasury on Sunday, April 17.
“U.S. Treasury to charge several financial institutions for money laundering using cryptocurrencies -sources,” the tweet declared. The tweet has been retweeted over 5,000 times since it was published and no one can reply to the tweet. The so-called “sources” are not mentioned in the tweet either, and there is very little information backing up the claim.
There has been no official confirmation of this news as of press time, but the rumors have been spreading wildly on Twitter and Reddit. At the time of publication, a great number of crypto advocates regard the Treasury crackdown hearsay as FUD.
Meanwhile, some speculators have said that the hearsay might have to do with the recent U.S. sanctions against the Russian government and a few international organizations. The U.S. Treasury published a press release on Thursday afternoon explaining that the entity and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) cracked down on 16 entities and 16 individuals. The press release says that these groups and people under the leadership of Russian officials tried to sway the U.S. election in 2020.
Moreover, digital currencies were allegedly used according to the press releases. The U.S. Treasury’s announcement states:
As part of today’s listing of SES on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), OFAC is also identifying digital currency addresses used by SES to fulfill customer orders in order to help assist financial institutions, and their third-party identity verification services, in identifying customers on their platforms who have purchased fraudulent identity documents.
‘Cryptocurrencies Are a Particular Concern,’ Says Janet Yellen
As bitcoin (BTC) and the crypto economy swells, a number of skeptics think the U.S. government will attack the economy with everything it can do to stop it from growing. Billionaire hedge fund manager, Ray Dalio recently said there was a good probability of the U.S. doing this similar to when it outlawed gold in 1933. This past Tuesday, Treasury Department lead Janet Yellen spoke about cryptocurrencies and told the Senate Finance Committee and Senator Maggie Hassan she is concerned.
“Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern. I think many are used— at least in a transactions sense— mainly for illicit financing,” Yellen remarked. “[The U.S. government should] examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that [money laundering] doesn’t occur through those channels,” Yellen added on April 13, 2021.
In addition to the U.S. Treasury’s recent press release concerning so-called Russian Foreign Intelligence Service meddling and the Solarwinds cyberattack, the Treasury’s OFAC published a list of crypto addresses that authorities believe are behind these ostensible attacks.
Government entities, pundits, and mainstream media have relentlessly tried to tether cryptocurrencies to criminal behavior and illicit transactions. Despite the many reports that show blockchains are not attractive to criminals and money laundering is far easier with untraceable U.S. dollars.
What do you think about the recent rumors about the U.S. Treasury crackdown and the OFAC press release concerning Russian intelligence using cryptos? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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Author: Jamie Redman