How Crypto Exchanges Can Avoid Sanctions By Shedding Criminal Users

2021 is the year of ransomware attacks; from Kaseya to the Colonial Pipeline, IT infrastructure no matter how critical seems unable to meet this cybersecurity challenge head-on. Part of this is because of the varying tactics and still relatively new channels, like cryptocurrency exchanges, for supporting ransomware attacks.

In response to what appears to be a mounting trend for bad actors, the U.S. Treasury has decided to drop the regulatory hammer on crypto’s role in ransomware: Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo announced the administration has targeted Czech Republic-based OTC cryptoexchange Suex with sanctions, preventing Americans from doing business with the company, due to alleged illegal transactions that supported ransomware attacks.

While Suex’s CEO vows to challenge these sanctions in U.S. courts, we wanted to ask: Are these schemes increasing because of cryptocurrency’s decentralization? Is the blockchain uniquely vulnerable to being used by financial criminals, or is the risk similar to other white collar crime channels, like more traditional money laundering schemes or stock-related fraud? We sourced thoughts from various legal and IT experts to expand on this intersection of crime, cybersecurity, and government regulation, including…

  1. Bob Driscoll, co-chair of McGlinchey Stafford’s Government & Internal Investigations Team on how much crypto’s financial crimes compare to its predecessors.
  2. Ken Mendelson, Senior Managing Director at Guidepost Solutions, on why crypto exchanges, are such an appealing platform for ransomware attacks, and how crypto platforms should respond to maintain the efficacy and reputation of their exchanges.
  3. Adriaen Morse, Partner at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, on whether the precedent set here for how the federal government regulates cryptocurrencies should be a point of optimism or contention for the industry.

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