Are suspicious activity reporting requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges effective?

Kim D., BİLGİN M. H. , Ryu D.

FINANCIAL INNOVATION, vol.7, no.1, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s40854-021-00294-6
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Keywords: Cryptocurrency, Cryptocurrency exchange, Financial regulation, Money laundering, Portfolio choice, ECONOMICS, BITCOIN


This study analyzes the impact of a newly emerging type of anti-money laundering regulation that obligates cryptocurrency exchanges to report suspicious transactions to financial authorities. We build a theoretical model for the reporting decision structure of a private bank or cryptocurrency exchange and show that an inferior ability to detect money laundering (ML) increases the ratio of reported transactions to unreported transactions. If a representative money launderer makes an optimal portfolio choice, then this ratio increases further. Our findings suggest that cryptocurrency exchanges will exhibit more excessive reporting behavior under this regulation than private banks. We attribute this result to cryptocurrency exchanges' inferior ML detection abilities and their proximity to the underground economy.