In a speech on December 3rd, Sigal Mandelker, the Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, advised cryptocurrency industry regulators and players to prevent the illegal use of crypto. Mandelker spoke at the recent Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference where the issue of justifying risks related to developing technologies as well as digital currencies which potentially could be used for immoral purposes was discussed. She emphasized that crypto service providers and financial institutions need to combat these illegal activities and their risks of supporting bad actors. The cryptocurrency industry needs to strengthen its networks and undertake the necessary steps to prevent illegal actors from misusing their services. Mandelker has also called upon international regulators to toughen their Combating the Financing of Terrorism and anti-money laundering frameworks regarding digital currencies. In addition, Mandelker emphasized the importance of enforcement and supervision of sanctions obligations and AML. The lack of regulatory measures in place for hosted wallets, cryptocurrency exchangers, and others, as well as broader assets of the digital ecosystem, worsens illegal financing risks and money laundering across jurisdictions. This recent call to action follows a new approach the agency took a week ago to target illegal actors who arranged other new technologies including crypto in order to transfer and launder fraudulent funds. The criminals used SamSam, a malware that affected over 200 victims including public institutions and state organizations. Two financial facilitators from Iran helped turn Bitcoin ransom settlements into Iranian rial as part of the hackers’ scheme. A week ago, both of these financial facilitators were added to OFAC’s list for Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Person’s, or SDN. For the very first time, OFAC was able to attribute cryptocurrency addresses that were associated with the designated individuals. In the meantime, the Estonian Ministry of Finance said that it would begin to add amendments to an existing financial bill that are meant to strengthen cryptocurrency-related regulation. The new regulation will introduce cryptocurrency payment service providers and cryptocurrency exchange service providers whereas before there was only an alternative means of payment provider. Earlier today, the Department of Financial Services of New York, or NYDFS, approved a new blockchain-based digital policy through Signature Bank. The system will allow the transfer of funds between two of Signature Bank’s commercial clients in real-time, eliminating third-party dependence entirely.