US Treasury asks regulators to take more action against crypto scams

The Department doesn't believe existing efforts are enough.

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Kharkiv, Ukraine - March 10, 2019:bitcoin symbol on ten dollars background. cryptocurrency technologies concept. virtual money with real life.
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The Treasury Department is keenly aware that crypto scams and hacks remain serious problems, and it's pressuring the rest of the US government to respond. As The Washington Post notes, the Treasury has issued a report calling on other federal regulators to further crack down on scams and other illegal crypto activity. Officials want agencies to "expand and increase" investigations and enforcement, issue clearer guidance and help crypto users understand both risks and the reporting tools at their disposal.

In all cases, the Treasury asked for more coordination between government divisions. The department also asked for greater transparency on illegal activity to help spot trends in scams and other crimes.

The tougher stance is necessary given the dangers, according to the report. While proponents argue crypto can democratize financial services by making them more affordable and accessible, the Treasury found that there wasn't much evidence to support the claim. If anything, the department found that low-income households were particularly vulnerable to ripoffs — 29 percent of crypto investors had an annual income below $50,000, according to Federal Reserve Board data.

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It's not clear that the findings will lead to decisive action. The Treasury didn't outline a concrete strategy for battling crypto scams and security breaches, and regulators have their own sometimes-conflicting views of how to govern digital assets. The Securities Exchange Commission sees most crypto tokens as securities it can monitor, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission unsurprisingly wants to treat tokens as commodities. Although the bureaus might not be fighting, this report doesn't do much to establish common ground.

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