In brief

  • The US Treasury has proposed requiring crypto exchanges to record and report certain transactions.
  • More than 65,000 public comments have been submitted regarding the rule.
  • Members of the US Congress have complained of a “rushed process.”

It has been the talk of the crypto world in recent weeks: the United States Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) wants to force cryptocurrency exchanges to record and even report certain transactions.

Now, it appears that a lot more feedback and concern about the proposed rule has been delivered straight to the source.

The Regulations.gov website shows that 65,617 total public comments have been submitted regarding the rule, as spotted by Jake Chervinsky of Compound Labs and the Blockchain Association. That’s a tenfold increase from two days ago, when the site showed just 6,537 public comments.

Originally, the deadline for public comments was January 4, a quick turnaround following the December 18 announcement. However, following the ire of members of the US Congress about a “rushed process,” particularly over the holidays, the deadline was quietly extended to today. That’s still well short of the 60-day period that US representatives requested.

In any case, the crypto community took advantage of the opportunity and responded in force to the proposed regulations. As of this writing, just over 5,000 of the comments can be viewed on the website. While they vary widely in size and detail, they are largely critical of the proposed rule, suggesting that it will strike a blow to financial privacy, with many calling it unconstitutional.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), the new rule would force exchanges to record any transaction to a private wallet of $3,000 or more, and report to FinCEN any such transaction of $10,000 or more. The proposed rule was rumored for weeks ahead of last month’s announcement. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong got in front of the news, tweeting out a thread on November 25 about his objections to the expected rule.

“If this crypto regulation comes out, it would be a terrible legacy and have long-standing negative impacts for the US,” Armstrong wrote. In the early days of the internet there were people who called for it to be regulated like the phone companies. Thank goodness they didn't.”

Yesterday, representatives from the advocacy groups Coin Center, Fight for the Future, Blockchain Association, and Electronic Frontier Foundation held a joint Reddit AMA to answer questions and encourage resistance against the proposed rule. Given today’s sudden surge in comments, it might have helped.