FinCEN’s new digital currency advisor says crypto’s ‘just another means of payment’

FinCEN digital currency adviser Michele Korver believes cryptocurrency is a natural evolution in financial technology.

Michele Korver, the first-ever chief digital currency advisor for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), believes crypto assets are just another way of transferring value.

Speaking to Law360 on Thursday, the newly appointed Korver said cryptocurrency was “just another means of payment or value transfer that’s developed over time, just like any financial technology.”

Korver offered a cool assessment of the digital asset sector, describing it as a natural evolution. “Financial technologies evolve over time and the innovation of money payments and value transfer will continue,” she said. “The criminal use of the financial ecosystem will always exist too.” She added:

“Personally, I’ve worked in this space for a long time, and I think these emerging technologies are cool and interesting.”

Korver was appointed to FinCEN at the start of July, following a stint as digital currency counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice and a decade spent working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Colorado — where she was instrumental in bringing down the Bitcoin-powered drug trafficking organization, ItalianMafiaBrussels.

FinCEN is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury that is tasked with collecting and analyzing financial transaction data to combat domestic and international financial crimes such as money laundering and terrorist financing.

In her current role, Korver will advise FinCEN acting director Michael Mosier and deputy director AnnaLou Tirol in strategizing the prevention of illicit financial practices.

“For me specifically, I’ll be assisting FinCEN with its responsibilities for enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act as it relates to [Convertible Virtual Currency], digital currencies and blockchain technologies,” she said.

“That includes ensuring compliance among those who provide financial services involving crypto or who serve as financial gatekeepers of these types of products and activities.”

Korver believes that crypto has become a renewed focus for lawmakers due to the recent spate of ransomware attacks targeting high-profile U.S. companies and infrastructure.

Related: Sen. Warren urges Treasury Secretary Yellen to combat rising crypto threats

On Wednesday, President Biden signed a memorandum committing to strengthening cybersecurity for critical infrastructure following the recent attacks.

The memo instructed the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department to establish “cybersecurity performance goals” for all critical infrastructure sectors. It also established the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative to facilitate collaboration between the federal government and companies that run industrial control systems on security matters.

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