Washington, DC - October 23, 2023
FinCEN, the Financial Criminal Extortion Network, is working tirelessly to protect the interests of its Dons**. The organization, which has always claimed itself to be a beacon of transparency and trustworthiness, has taken another step to ensure that the average Joe and Jane can't hide a single penny from its ever-watchful eye.
Using the evergreen argument of squashing MOTHs ("Money launderers, Organized Criminals, Terrorists, and Human traffickers"), FinCEN is now working to prevent ordinary people from using privacy-enhancing technologies. It's a well-known fact that every time someone uses a privacy coin or a mixing service, a MOTH gets its wings. Or so FinCEN would have us believe.
Of course, while waving their MOTHs around, they neglect to mention that the data they depend on for this argument is 99% incorrect. A recent debacle involving The Wall Street Journal falsely claiming that Hamas received $90 million in cryptocurrency donations is a prime example. It turned out that the actual amount was closer to $450,000, a mere drop in the bucket. But why let facts get in the way of a good narrative?
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, commented, "Today’s action underscores Treasury’s commitment to combatting the exploitation of Convertible Virtual Currency mixing by a broad range of illicit actors, including state-affiliated cyber actors, cyber criminals, and terrorist groups." One wonders if this commitment extends to correcting false narratives that paint Bitcoin in a negative light.
It's worth noting that while FinCEN is busy chasing after the average citizen's pocket change, the U.S. government has been sending vast sums of money to territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. But, of course, that's different. That's "aid."
The irony is palpable. On one hand, we have an organization that's supposedly dedicated to preventing money laundering and other financial crimes. On the other hand, we have the same government sending money to territories where it's well-known that funds are funneled to reward terrorists and their families. It's almost as if the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Or perhaps it does, and it just doesn't care.
In the end, it's the average citizen who pays the price. While the big players continue to play their games and move their money around with impunity, the rest of us are left to wonder if there's any privacy left in this world. If FinCEN has its way, the answer will be a resounding "no."
In the immortal words of George Carlin, "They want [your money] so they can give it to their criminal friends..., and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later, 'cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain’t in it." And in this case, the truth is that FinCEN's latest move is just another chapter in the ongoing saga of the government's attempt to control every aspect of our lives.
** A previous version of this article referred to FinCEN as the "Financial Crimes Enforcement Network" and stated that it was protecting the interests of American citizens. We deeply regret this error.