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US Government and Non-Custodial Crypto Concerns

In the last few days, the crypto community has become increasingly worried about the US government’s approach to non-custodial wallets that allow individual ownership of crypto assets. It’s becoming clear that there seems to be a focused effort against these wallets.

Legal challenges shake crypto enthusiasts

The recent legal troubles of Samourai Wallet, suspicions of unlicensed brokerage activities involving MetaMask, and the FBI’s warnings about illicit money transfers have left the crypto community nervous.

People actively participating in crypto discussions online are increasingly anxious about these events’ impact on privacy, the functionality of non-custodial wallets, and the security of open-source codes.

These developments have sparked widespread uproar among the crypto community on social media platforms such as X and forums like Reddit. After the news about Samourai broke, one Redditor expressed deep frustration, likening the situation to arresting people who own ATMs because some users might purchase illegal substances with the withdrawn cash.

They defended using a mixer as merely a tool for deleting transaction history, not an illicit activity, challenging the notion and stating that privacy is an inherent human right.

On social media platform X, John Paul Koning highlighted the significance of this development in the crypto sphere, pointing out that the entire crypto-economy depends on the legal assumption that not taking custody negates the need to register as a money transmitter.

Focusing on Samourai and Tornado, both non-custodial entities, and their recent charges for failing to register, Koning warned of the severe implications for crypto if the federal understanding holds.

Many individuals on X expressed worries after examining the US government’s indictment against Samourai in detail. They found numerous inaccuracies. Someone pointed out a glaring contradiction where the government charges Samourai with acting as an unauthorized money transmitter, even though they recognize that the team never managed user funds.

Privacy advocate Chris Blec has criticized the indictment, claiming it’s misleading. Blec questions why Samourai Wallet is being charged with ‘transferring funds on behalf of the public’ when it has never held any user funds.

He points out that Whirlpool transactions have no intermediary, and the funds never leave the user’s wallets. Therefore, Blec disputes the indictment’s claim, stating it’s incorrect because no ‘mixer’ repository is involved.

In addition to the Samourai case and the reported Wells Notice from the SEC to Consensys, legislative efforts to regulate non-custodial wallets have also been underway. Senators Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, Democrat, and Roger Marshall from Kansas, Republican, introduced the Digital Asset Anti Money Laundering Act, or DAAMLA, last year.

They claim that unhosted crypto wallets essentially allow individuals to sidestep AML and sanctions checks. Just last week, the Internal Revenue Service, better known as IRS, unveiled a reporting form that some believe specifically targets non-custodial wallets.

The draft 1099, proposed by the IRS, suggests that non-custodial wallets are brokers. The founder of Hodder Law Firm, Sasha Hodder, communicated this and expressed concern for privacy fans.

Many believe the US is tightening its hold on non-custodial holdings and services, like BTC mixing, which could soon disappear. Despite this, there’s a strong hope that non-custodial solutions will continue.

They are a vital part of the crypto economy, allowing users to handle their finances without a middleman. This complete ownership is a crucial attraction of Bitcoin.

Sjors Provoost has made clear that North Korea might be the only safe place to run a mixer, even a non-custodial one. Provoost is outspoken about the recent arrests connected to Tornado Cash and Samourai.

He believes these events confirm something many have suspected: the US and EU are decidedly opposed to financial privacy and are determined to uphold their financial monitoring systems.

The key message conveyed by lawyer Jake Chervinsky recently was that privacy is given as a primary method of operation. He emphasized the abnormality of living in a surveillance state where the government constantly monitors our financial dealings without a warrant. He further criticized the treatment of software developers crafting privacy-preserving technologies as criminals.

In response to Chervinsky’s post, former Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik noted the inherent privacy in past transactions. He stated that transactional privacy had been the norm throughout human history, only facing disruption in the recent decade.