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FinCEN Appoints Former Chainalysis CTO as Acting Director

In tapping Chainalysis’ former CTO, FinCEN has signaled its continued focus on crypto.

FinCEN Appoints Former Chainalysis CTO as Acting Director
Shutterstock cover by Jarretera

Key Takeaways

  • FinCEN has hired the former CTO of Chainalysis.
  • The move suggests that the agency is onboarding crypto-specific talent to tackle its renewed focus on the sector.
  • The government agency is responsible for monitoring money laundering and terrorist financing.

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FinCEN has hired the former CTO of Chainalysis to be its acting director. The move indicates that the agency is adding more talent to focus on the burgeoning crypto sector.

Chainalysis Chief Joins FinCEN

The U.S. government’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has hired the former Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Chainalysis — Michael Mosier, to be its acting director. This follows the resignation of its former director Kenneth A. Blanco.

Mosier previously worked as a deputy secretary in the U.S. Treasury and as a Counselor to the Deputy Secretary. He was also the Digital Innovation Officer and deputy secretary at FinCEN. He will take on his new role as director on Apr. 11.

AnnaLou Tirol will also join him as FinCEN’s deputy director. Before this, she was the associate director of FinCEN’s Strategic Operations Division. 

FinCEN is a financial surveillance initiative that has a growing interest in cryptocurrency transaction analysis. They trace transactions that are potentially involved in terrorism and money laundering

Chainalysis has several years of experience providing cryptocurrency usage data to both governments and private-sector organizations. The hire of Chainalysis’s CTO is likely an attempt to acquire some of their cryptocurrency tracking expertise. 

The most widely-used blockchains are public and highly traceable. However, cryptocurrencies generally don’t attach users’ names or contact information to their wallets. Thieves often try to convert the cryptocurrency they steal into a more broadly accepted currency such as U.S. dollars or their own national currency. 

Such conversions may occur at cryptocurrency exchanges or over-the-counter (OTC) sales. Trading the stolen cryptocurrency on surveilled platforms such as centralized exchanges, which require KYC, could deanonymize the thief’s wallet and reveal their identity.

The aggregation of data from centralized entities such as the exchanges mentioned, merchants, and financial institutions can help law enforcement to ascertain who owns the wallets that are being investigated. This is where blockchain analytics expertise becomes handy. 

Founded in 2014, Chainalysis is a blockchain surveillance company that provides cryptocurrency analysis products and services to governments and corporations for multiple reasons, including exchange hacks and illicit transactions.

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