Here Comes FATF’s Assault on Privacy

by Marvin Dumont

Regulators always justify their (possibly unconstitutional) infringements on privacy and liberty as ways to prevent terrorism and money laundering.

Don’t be fooled: This isn’t about terrorism or money laundering, or they would have invaded Iran, and hired more personnel to fight organized crime. Their rules are aimed at acquiring more state power over law-abiding citizens — who are presumed guilty.

Bureaucrats are incentivized to add restrictions regardless of merit or consequences: They get promoted for making life complicated. And this conflict of interest has created a dystopian system that monitors all financial transactions despite not having a court warrant or even suspicion of a crime.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization that sets anti-money laundering standards, has issued new guidelines that require all “virtual asset service providers (VASP)” to record, hold, and share customers’ data to other VASPs.

This anti-privacy protocol puts everyone at risk of having their IDs, passphrases, and extremely sensitive content misused or stolen by unethical third parties, spy agencies, or hackers.

If your country chooses to follow FATF’s new guidelines (and politicians are often pressured to do so), every crypto exchange in your nation must collect and disclose the following information:

  • Originator’s name (sender ID)
  • Originator’s account number (wallet)
  • Originator’s physical address, or national identity number, or customer identification number, or date and place of birth
  • Beneficiary’s name (receiver ID)
  • Beneficiary account number (receiver’s wallet).

Many cryptocurrencies were designed to give people privacy. Governments are increasingly coercing exchanges and blockchain companies to reveal the IDs of their users.

Will the ecosystem push back?

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