There is an office within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, that is responsible for administering and implementing financial sanctions against targeted foreign individuals, foreign countries, geographic regions, entities to secure U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. This department is known as the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). To prevent targets such as international narcotic traffickers, terrorists, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, and perpetrators of serious human rights abuse from accessing the U.S. financial system for purposes contrary to U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, and to change the behaviour of such targets, the U.S. government uses Economic sanctions. Economic sanctions can be a dominative foreign policy tool among others, but the effectiveness of economic sanctions depends on the active participation of everyone subject to the U.S. jurisdiction, including people within the virtual currency industry.
What are OFAC Sanctions?
35 various sanctions programs are administered by OFAC. Each program is created to counterattack specific threats and further U.S. national security goals and foreign policy. Due to this, each program may employ different types of sanctions. Normally, OFAC Sanctions can be either targeted in nature or comprehensive and may require imposing restrictions on financial or trade-related activities, or blocking of assets of a particular person, region, country or government.
Most comprehensive sanctions programs include the following types of sanctions:
Target entities or individuals working in specific sectors of a foreign country's economy or restrict particular activities related to a sector of a foreign country's economy.
Target specific, listed entities and individuals either require the blocking of all assets and interests in property of these listed persons under the United States jurisdiction or the possession of a U.S. person or restrict particular types of transactions and activities with indexed persons. OFAC maintains several public lists of identified individuals and organizations, and their blocked property such as aircraft and ships that are subject to OFAC sanctions. The most popular among these is the Specially Designated Nationals List also known as the “SDN List.”
Regime or Government sanctions
Either requires blocking of assets and interests in property of a specific foreign government or regime that come within the United States or control or possession of a U.S. person or restrict certain types of transactions and activities involving a particular foreign government or regime.
Embargoes or Broad trade-based sanctions
Prohibit dealings with the geographic region or an entire country, unless exempt or authorized. These kinds of sanctions usually include restrictions on exporting or importing goods or services from or to the sanctioned jurisdiction. Such sanctioned jurisdictions presently include Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Iran and the Crimea region of Ukraine.