Is This Happening?

Congress has submitted a law making it illegal to hold cash, Bitcoins, or other assets outside of the bank without informing them with writing.

By now, it seems to be common knowledge that the government tries very hard to monitor and regulate every single transaction individuals choose to conduct.

Yet, with the rise of cryptocurrencies, and the new fears coming out that decentralized virtual money could actually start or magnify a financial crisis, on May 25th, Congress submitted a bill making it illegal, and placing individuals subject to asset confiscation and imprisonment, for anyone to have a medium size amount of cash, Bitcoin, etc. outside of a bank without telling the government how much they have, where they have it, and why they have it through filling out new Federal forms.

The new bill is entitled, “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017.”

Within the bill they even include prepaid phones, retail gift vouchers, or even electronic coupons. Also within the bill is the government’s aim to greatly extend its authority to seize assets through “Civil Asset Forfeiture”.

Civil Asset Forfeiture rules allow the government to take whatever they want from you, without a trial or any due process.

The bill has also vastly expanded on the definition of ‘financial crimes’, which now includes the failure to fill out a form if you happen to be transporting more then $10,000 worth of ‘monetary instruments’.

According to the bill, if you do not tell the government about the cash you have, they are authorized to seize not just the money you didn’t report, but also all your assets and bank accounts. They even name “safety deposit boxes” among the various assets that they can seize if you don’t fill out the form.

On top of civil penalties, there are even criminal penalties. Right now, according to current law, they can imprison you for up to five years for not filling out the forms.

This bill aims to double the criminal penalty to ten years in prison. The bill also gives the government authority to engage in surveillance and wiretapping if they have even a hint of suspicion that you may be transporting excess ‘monetary instruments’.

Normally wiretapping authority is reserved for major crimes like kidnapping, human trafficking, felony fraud, etc.

Banks in the U.S. are already required by law to fill out suspicious activity reports on their customers. Then Congress added stock brokers, casinos, currency exchanges, precious metal dealers, pawnbrokers, and even the Post Office to the list.

Under the new bill, the government also wants to forcibly recruit even more unpaid spies, including any business which issues or redeems anything that is prepaid. So, Amazon would be required to file reports to the government about prepaid gift cards

The bill also wants to pull any business which “issues” cryptocurrency under the anti-money laundering regulatory umbrella.

Yet, no one “issues” Bitcoin. There is no Bitcoin central bank. There is no Chairman of Bitcoin who decides on a whim to increase the supply.

Bitcoin is created amounts that are pre-determined by its code. It’s software.

So the Senate is essentially trying to force the Bitcoin core software to comply with money laundering regulations.

The bill also attempts to include Bitcoin in the list of monetary instruments that must be reported when entering or leaving the U.S.

this means if you leave the U.S. with more than $10,000 in Bitcoin or Ether, you will have to confess it to authorities or face the aforementioned penalties, i.e. prison time, civil asset forfeiture, etc.

It seems that the bill criminalizes or delegitimizes the most mundane and harmless financial activities, all under the guise of keeping us safe.