US financial watchdog FinCEN hires first-ever chief digital currency advisor

    08 Jul 2021

    The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has hired Michele Korver, previously of the Digital Currency Council in the U.S. Department of Justice, to serve as the agency’s first chief digital currency adviser (DCA). Korver, who has been involved in crypto-related Anti-Money Laundering (AML) operations since 2013, will advise FinCEN acting director Michael Mosier regarding cryptocurrency’s implication in financial crime. The hire marks another sign that FinCEN is upping its focus on the crypto sector.

    Alter the FinCEN explaining the misuse of cryptocurrencies is a national priority last week, the bureau hired Tuesday its first-ever chief digital currency advisor Michele Korver. Michael Mosier, FinCEN’s acting director, detailed that she will be the bureau’s new crypto expert, and she brings “a wealth of digital currency expertise.”

    The official FinCEN’s announcement read, “Ms. Korver will advance FinCEN’s leadership role in the digital currency space by working across internal and external partners toward strategic and innovative solutions to prevent and mitigate illicit financial practices and exploitation.”

    Crypto investors may be familiar with Korver, as while working with the DOJ, she served as Digital Currency Counsel for the department’s criminal division. As Cointelegraph reported, Korver has also worked with the Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). She also advised the Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council and developed policies around cryptocurrency seizure and forfeiture.

    Korver also spent 10 years as an assistant attorney in the Office of the United States Attorney, where she prosecuted cybercrime and national security offenses. She has advised federal officials regarding crypto assets in cases that involved “charging decisions and other prosecutorial strategies.”

    Korver has been involved in Anti-Money Laundering (AML) operations focused on crypto with the Department of Homeland Security and private technology companies since 2013.

    “Michele brings a wealth of digital currency expertise and will be a tremendous leader in coordinated efforts to maximize FinCEN’s contribution to the innovative potential for financial expansion of opportunity while minimizing illicit finance risk,” said FinCEN director on Tuesday.

    Before, Korver wrote this year in the DOJ’s Journal of Federal Law and Practice an article concerning how criminals might use cryptocurrencies. Alongside co-author Alexandra Comolli, Korver wrote that crypto will likely be decreasingly associated with money laundering as it becomes more widely accepted.

    “In the early days of cryptocurrency, a great deal of activity was tied to illegal conduct on the dark web, which is why the shuttering of dark web marketplaces could impact the value of bitcoin,” she wrote. “But as mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency has grown, the percentage of transactions used to promote or conceal crime has also decreased.”

    FinCEN, the U.S. regulator that combats domestic and international financial crimes, is focused on the cryptocurrency sector in its ongoing fight against money laundering. In July, the bureau announced the oversight of cryptocurrency transactions among its top national priorities for Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML). FinCEN authorities have also aimed at unhosted cryptocurrency wallets, which they claim could increase AML and CTF risks. The FATF, the intergovernmental body responsible for setting AML standards, also shared those concerns.


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