Former Chainalysis exec takes reins at US AML watchdog

The US's leading anti-money laundering authority is seeing a major change in leadership that is clearly aimed at sharpening its blockchain-related capabilities.

On Friday, the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, announced the departure of Director Kenneth Blanco. Replacing Blanco as acting director will be Michael Mosier, who is being promoted from a position as deputy director.

A longtime insider in US financial regulation, Mosier brings particular experience in the field of blockchain analytics. Starting in the summer of 2019, he worked as chief technology officer at Chainalysis, one of the leaders in the field and a frequent collaborator in US investigations into illicit money flows in crypto.

Mosier returned to FinCEN early in 2020, where he became the office's first Digital Innovation Officer. AnnaLou Tirol, formerly of the Department of Justice's public corruption section, will be taking over Mosier's old position as deputy director.

Cryptocurrencies have clearly become a central concern for US financial regulators, particularly FinCEN. The office was also behind a major push to mandate crypto exchanges keep information on the ownership of self-hosted crypto wallets with which they transact, a proposal whose fate remains unsettled.