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Treasury proposes rule to monitor crypto going to self-hosted wallets

Many have called the long-rumored rules an existential threat to peer-to-peer transactions.

The Treasury has released its long-awaited proposal to restrict money services businesses, including U.S.-registered crypto exchanges, from dealing with self-hosted wallets.

In a Friday evening announcement, the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, announced proposed rules requiring registered crypto exchanges to verify the “identity of their customers, if a counterparty uses an unhosted or otherwise covered wallet and the transaction is greater than $3,000.”

The rule is currently just a proposal. The Treasury has given stakeholders 15 days to respond with comments.

Rumors of the proposed rules have been circulating for the past month. With Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on his way out the door as a new administration comes in, they have been viewed as a parting shot at crypto. Of the announcement, he said:

“This rule addresses substantial national security concerns in the CVC market, and aims to close the gaps that malign actors seek to exploit in the recordkeeping and reporting regime.”

A number of leading lawmakers have already come out in opposition to the proposed rule, which many see as an assault on the nature of peer-to-peer transactions. However, in the absence of a formal law, the Treasury has considerable rulemaking power in this area.

That said, the current proposal is not as radical as some feared. It would, rather, apply existing requirements to keep reports on transactions — the $3,000 threshold of the Travel Rule — to registered entities interacting with self-hosted wallets. Among registered entities, that threshold would instead be $10,000.

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