Washington, D.C. - On December 31, 2020, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) led a bipartisan and bicameral letter to the Department of Treasury expressing concerns regarding a limited comment period on a proposed rulemaking that would significantly affect the blockchain industry and unhosted cryptocurrency wallets. The rule was announced before Christmas and New Years on December 18, 2020, and comments were to be received within 15 days.
Yesterday, after Congressman Emmer's urging, Treasury agreed to extend the comment period. The rule is being considered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau within Treasury, and would require certain members of the blockchain industry to submit additional reports and keep records relating to customer identities and transactions if they are made above certain thresholds. The additional data collection also pertains to unhosted wallets, which do not require a financial institution to conduct transactions.
"My nonpartisan request last month was simple: allow additional flexibility for stakeholders to comment and advise our government on this proposal. This extension was both appropriate and necessary. It is imperative that the concerns of stakeholders are heard and responded to, and allowing more time for input is an important step towards ensuring accountability and transparency in the rulemaking process," said Emmer.
"I appreciate the Treasury Department for responding to my concern and taking time to ensure we do not stifle this industry and its growth," Emmer concluded.
Specifically, the extension consists of an additional 15 days on the proposed currency transaction report (CTR) requirement for transactions greater than $10,000 that involve unhosted wallets or wallets hosted in jurisdictions identified by FinCEN. It would also extend the comment period by 45 days on the proposed rule to require banks and money service businesses to keep record of the customer, the transaction, and the counterparty, if a counterparty is using an unhosted wallet, and the transaction is greater than $3,000.