DeFi Alert: US Treasury Sounds Money Laundering Warning

• The US Treasury has released a report on the risk of money laundering, drug trafficking, and terrorism in decentralized finance (DeFi).
• The report highlights the potential for DeFi services to be exploited by illicit actors and points out that many of these services are not truly decentralized.
• It urges the industry to take steps to mitigate these risks and ensure security for all users.

US Treasury Probes DeFi Money Laundering Risks

The US Treasury recently published their 2023 DeFi Illicit Finance Risk Assessment, citing centralization, money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorism as major risks associated with Decentralized Finance (DeFI). This report comes after the regulatory climate in the US began to turn against cryptocurrency.

Fake Decentralization of DeFi

The report claims that many of the supposedly decentralized DeFi protocols are firmly under the control of a few wealthy founders. It highlighted a wide range of activities that exist between fully ‚centralized‘ and fully ‚decentralized‘ services. Such false decentralization leaves users vulnerable to attacks and manipulation, including hacks and scams.

Risk Of Serving Illicit Actors

The Treasury report also discussed DeFi’s risk of serving illicit actors such as cybercriminals, ransomware attackers, and scammers who use DeFI to launder their illegal proceeds. In addition to this, it is unknown whether regulators can effectively ban decentralized protocols which make them difficult to regulate or monitor.

Mitigating Risks

The Treasury urged the industry to take steps to mitigate these risks such as implementing strict KYC/AML policies across platforms or partnering with financial institutions who have established compliance teams in order to ensure security for all users.


Overall, this report is an important step forward in understanding the potential threats posed by decentralized finance protocols but it is still unclear how effective authorities can be in regulating these platforms given their autonomous nature.