Global Money Laundering Watchdog Says Crypto Monitoring Regime Is Unchanged

The Financial Action Task Force said it has not changed the way it monitors digital assets after Al Jazeera reported that the intergovernmental organization for tacking money laundering and financing of terrorism is getting ready to "conduct annual checks to ensure countries are enforcing anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules on crypto providers."

The FATF declined to comment on "speculation in media reports," but it told CoinDesk that it has not changed the "manner or frequency of its assessments" of virtual assets defined under Recommendation R.15. All countries must prioritize the swift and effective implementation of crypto regulations to make sure they aren't misused by criminals, it said.

"This Recommendation continues to be assessed and rated as part of countries’ mutual evaluation or follow up reports," the FATF press team said in an email to CoinDesk.

Since 2018, the international body has looked to define virtual assets and service providers in order to apply guidelines for anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) to the crypto industry. In 2021, it published updated guidance for virtual asset service providers. Earlier this year, it said nearly half of the world's jurisdictions still weren't requiring crypto service providers to identify their customers properly.

Overall, implementation of FATF standards to regulate crypto "remains extremely poor," it said in the email. It also has not changed the process by which it adds countries to the gray list for increased monitoring. Its annual check is a "Targeted Update" that provides an overall picture of global compliance, but countries are not rated or re-rated through the process.

"Implementation of R.15 continues to be a priority for the FATF, and the FATF will continue to explore and take action as necessary to promote compliance," it said.

Read more: Nearly Half of Jurisdictions Still Not Applying Crypto Laundering Norms, Global Regulator Says