A new bill, S.1241 – Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017, would make it a money laundering offense to cross the American border with more than $10,000 in undeclared cryptocurrency. The stated goal of this legislation is to bolster America’s “border protection strategy to interdict and detect prepaid access devices, digital currencies, or other similar instruments, at border crossings and other ports of entry for the United States.” Basically, if passed, the new bill would have the US border patrol treat digital currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Zcash as a seizable asset, opening it up to the great American problem of civil asset forfeiture.
S. 1421 would have the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protections agencies to work together and present Congress with a plan to detect digital currencies at border crossings and information on the infrastructure needed. Needless to say, everyone is curious as to what kind of infrastructure would need to be developed to “detect” the presence of digital currency at border crossings. Suffice to say, the presence of such language in the proposed law reveals the deep lack of understanding that our lawmakers have when it comes to the internet, privacy, and especially digital currencies.
Senators seeking to force Bitcoin declaration at borders are out of touch with technology
With an average age of 73, the 4 Senators that cosponsored this bill are:
Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]
Sen. Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA]
Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX]
Sen. Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI]
It gets worst. S. 1421 also sets it up so that those caught for tax fraud can also be punished as money laundering, even if there is no Specified Unlawful Activity (SUA) tied to it. According to Ballard Spahr LLP:
“If passed in its present form, S. 1241 ironically will take