UN Cybercrime Treaty Threatens Crypto Privacy Worldwide

• The United Nations is in the process of negotiating a new international treaty on cybercrime that includes language requiring all nations that sign the treaty to implement onerous financial surveillance laws for cryptocurrency.
• This language would impose sweeping surveillance requirements on cryptocurrency and threaten financial privacy worldwide, potentially including software developers, custodial and self-hosted wallet providers.
• If adopted, this could allow governments around the world to automatically receive financial information from crypto companies, leading to an increase in global surveillance of cryptocurrencies.

UN Cybercrime Treaty Could Lead to Sweeping Surveillance of Crypto Worldwide

The United Nations is currently in the midst of negotiating a new international treaty on cybercrime – and its current draft language could have widespread implications for crypto users worldwide. Marta Belcher and Kurt Opsahl of the Filecoin Foundation have argued that if adopted, this treaty could require crypto companies to implement intrusive mass surveillance systems, turning over financial information to governments automatically.

What Does the Draft Proposal Say?

Article 93 of the draft treaty requires all nations that sign it to implement financial surveillance laws for cryptocurrency. This language applies to any organization “engaged in activities related to the circulation of digital financial assets and digital currency” – meaning it could include not just traditional financial institutions but also software developers, custodial wallets providers and self-hosted wallet providers. In other words, this would constitute a sweeping form of global surveillance into cryptocurrencies transactions – allowing governments around the world to automatically receive financial information from crypto companies without any suspicion or warrant required.

The Implications

If implemented as proposed, this new international treaty could lead to significant losses in terms of individual privacy and freedom – as well as major risks for both individuals and businesses involved with cryptocurrency transactions. For example, if governments are able to access detailed records about who owns what coins when they move funds around or make purchases with them, then they can use those records against citizens if they so choose – potentially imposing fines or even criminal sanctions on those who engage in activities deemed illegal by their respective countries’ laws. Additionally, businesses may face increased pressure from regulatory bodies demanding more data about their customers’ activities than ever before.


The Filecoin Foundation has been among those most vocal in opposing this proposal since it was first announced – arguing that it would be a violation of civil liberties as well as an impractical requirement for many small businesses working with cryptocurrencies. Other critics have argued that such measures are unnecessary given existing anti-money laundering regulations already put in place by many countries around the world – suggesting instead that more education is needed among law enforcement agencies about how these technologies work rather than introducing more expansive regulations like those proposed by Article 93.


Only time will tell whether or not Article 93 will be adopted into the final version of this new international treaty on cybercrime; however it serves as yet another reminder that while cryptocurrencies offer users an unprecedented degree of freedom and autonomy when transacting online, these same technologies can still be vulnerable to government overreach if necessary precautions aren’t taken at an international level