This week the U.S. Treasury Department issued guidelines on how the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) could add cryptocurrency addresses to the country’s sanction list.
Cryptocurrency Addresses to be Added to the U.S. Sanctions List
The U.S. government may soon have the ability to add cryptocurrency addresses to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list. Coincidently the oversight advice happened on the same day President Trump signed an executive order banning the Venezuelan petro (PTR). The petro is mentioned among a variety of digital assets including BTC, ETH, LTC, NEO, XMR, and XRP.
The Treasury calls a cryptocurrency wallet “a software application (or other mechanisms) that provides a means for holding, storing, and transferring digital currency.” The report also describes a virtual currency and an address:
“A [Digital Currency Address] is an alphanumeric identifier that represents a potential destination for a digital currency transfer.”
OFAC May “Alert the Public” About Suspect Digital Currency Identifiers
Additionally, the agency issued guidance to those who have identified SDN owned wallets and addresses and ask them to report the news to OFAC immediately. Further, the Treasury says that the market itself, businesses, and cryptocurrency exchanges should work together to keep an eye on suspect addresses that might be on the SDN list.
“The digital currency address field on the SDN List provides the unique alphanumeric identifiers (up to 256 characters) for digital currency addresses and identifies the digital currency to which the address corresponds,” explains the OFAC report.
“OFAC will use sanctions in the fight against criminal and other malicious actors abusing digital currencies and emerging payment systems as a complement to existing tools, including diplomatic outreach and law enforcement authorities — To strengthen our efforts to combat the illicit use of digital currency transactions under our existing authorities, OFAC may include as identifiers on the SDN List specific digital currency addresses associated with blocked persons.”
The Treasury’s OFAC guidance does not go into great detail on how they will block these wallets and addresses or enforce the sanctions. According to the report, OFAC may “alert the public” about suspect digital currency identifiers.