Virtual Currencies and Money Laundering: Legal Background, Enforcement Actions, and Legislative Proposals [April 3, 2019] [open pdf - 1007KB]
From the Document: "Law enforcement officials have described money laundering--the process of making illegally obtained proceeds appear legitimate--as the 'lifeblood' of organized crime. Recently, money launderers have increasingly turned to a new technology to conceal the origins of illegally obtained proceeds: virtual currency. Virtual currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, and Ripple are digital representations of value that, like ordinary currency, function as media of exchange, units of account, and stores of value. However, unlike ordinary currencies, virtual currencies are not legal tender, meaning they cannot be used to pay taxes and creditors need not accept them as payments for debt. While virtual currency enthusiasts tout their technological promise, a number of commentators have contended that the anonymity offered by these new financial instruments makes them an attractive vehicle for money laundering. Law enforcement officials, regulators, and courts have accordingly grappled with how virtual currencies fit into a federal anti-money laundering (AML) regime designed principally for traditional financial institutions."
CRS Report for Congress, R45664
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/