The BTC Mixer Helix got penalized by the FinCEN with $60 million in fines for operating as an unregistered MSB as we read more in today’s bitcoin news.
The United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network struck another fine to privacy supporters after announcing the first penalty for the BTC mixer Helix. According to the report, FinCen issued a 460 million civil penalty against Larry Dean Harmon who was responsible for the Bitcoin privacy-focused services. Harmon was the man behind the Lightning Network Wallet Dropbit and the BTC anonymization services like tumblers, mixers, or blenders including Helix and Coin Ninja.
According to the FinCEN, the Bitcoin mixers Coin Ninja and Helix operated as unregistered Money Service Businesses, and because of this, Harmon didn’t obey the regulations while he was evading taxes and skipping requirements that are mandatory is the platform has a license. The FinCEN claimed that for six years, Harmon’s mixers facilitated about $311 million in more than1 a million bitcoin transactions, thus facilitating anonymization.
In addition to the monetary penalties, Harmon is facing criminal charges for being associated with the activities that facilitate money laundering as the authorities argued that once a service allows any transaction intended to launder funds, it moves into a sphere of illegally operating so while it is not illegal to participate in a bitcoin mixer, getting involved in it with criminals, makes the activity illegal.
According to US laws, if registered, Harmon’s BTC mixers will be under obligation to implement KYC and AML policies and also keep track of all transactions and report suspicious activities as well. The FinCEN also shows that Harmon’s PR strategies were not quite “legal.” The investigation identified about 356,000 bitcoin transactions via Helix. Harmon operated the mixer and advertised services on the darknet as a way for customers to pay for things anonymously. He also founded and acted as Chief Executive Officer at CoinNinja which operated as an unregistered MSB.
The news of the fine came when the United States started pushing for stricter policies regarding control of crypto operations. In addition to having issued warnings against cryptography and encryption services, the authorities hired a few fintech and developers to offer them services to track crypto transactions and to trace monero. The use of mixers is quite a controversial topic in the crypto space as some exchanges are blocking accounts of users with transactions associated with these services.
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