US Treasury Warns of DeFi Money Laundering Risks

• The US Treasury published the 2023 DeFi Illicit Finance Risk Assessment report, which highlights the risks associated with DeFi services.
• The report claims that many of the supposedly decentralized DeFi protocols are firmly under the control of a few wealthy founders.
• DeFi services are vulnerable to attacks and manipulation, including hacks, scams, cybercriminals, ransomware attackers, and money laundering.

US Treasury Report on Risks of DeFi

The US Treasury recently released a report detailing the risks associated with Decentralized Finance (DeFi). The 2023 DeFi Illicit Finance Risk Assessment highlighted centralization, money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorism as potential threats posed by this new financial technology.

Centralization of Decentralized Protocols

The report found that many purportedly decentralized protocols are actually controlled by a small group of developers or validators. This has led to increased vulnerability to attacks such as hacks and scams. Furthermore, it leaves users open to manipulation by malicious actors such as cybercriminals and ransomware attackers who may use these platforms for money laundering purposes.

Regulatory Climate Turning Against Crypto

The release of this report comes after an increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the US towards crypto assets. It is unclear whether authorities can effectively ban decentralized protocols due to their nature and lack of centralized control points.

Potential Solutions for Mitigating Risks

The Treasury’s assessment urged the industry to take steps towards mitigating these risks through enhanced customer due diligence measures such as Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance standards. Additionally, they recommended enhanced monitoring systems that would detect suspicious activity on their platforms more efficiently than current methods allow for.


Overall, while DeFi offers great promise in terms of accessibilty and transparency for users engaging in financial transactions without intermediaries or trusted third parties, there exist significant risks associated with its use which must be addressed if it is to become a viable alternative to traditional finance services