Everything is virtual these days. As a result, I started a virtual fitness program that incentivizes you with achievements for accomplishing your health goals. My Apple Watch has become my constant companion and it reminds me to keep moving to achieve my fitness goal. Fortunately, I reached one of my goals and received a nice medal in the mail with an inspiring quote that read, “Be like a postage stamp, stick with it until you get there.”
When learning about a new technology, like nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and what they mean, I recommend sticking with it. I first heard the term NFT in late 2019 from one of the ACAMS Today editorial committee members. As they began to describe what an NFT was and its implications for the financial sector, I was fascinated. Fast forward to 2021 and NFTs have been brought to the forefront with the sale of the artwork “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by artist Mike Winkelmann (aka Beeple). The article “Art market and the controversial NFT craze” featured on the cover was written by Merritt Cooke. Cooke analyzes the growing relationship between art and the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a form of payment—with NFTs taking center stage. Even though NFTs have been around for a few years, they are growing in popularity as mainstream consumers are now joining the craze. As succinctly put in the article, NFTs “make the not collectible inherently collectible.” Read about the possible money laundering implications brought about by NFTs in the headline article.
Each year in this edition we highlight the ACAMS Award winners. These individuals are a group of people who—much like the quote I received in the mail—have stuck with it, whether by gaining expertise in the anti-financial crime industry and sharing it with others through articles, being leaders in their respective sectors or volunteering, guiding and building ACAMS’ chapter activities, seminars and networking sessions into a thriving chapter in their region. Congratulations to ACAMS AFC Professional of the Year Award winner Ahsan Habib; the ACAMS Today Article of the Year Award winners Sarah Beth Felix, Lauren Kohr and Angel Nguyen Swift; and the ACAMS Chapter of the Year Award winner presented to the Hong Kong Chapter. In addition, I would like to congratulate all the AML Professional of the Month recipients for 2021.
As we end 2021, this edition highlights important themes of the year in two articles: “2021—A Year of Positive Change” and “AML in APAC: 2021 in Review.” This edition also visits new topics, such as the implications of crowdfunding together with cryptocurrencies when used by terrorist groups and preventing burnout not only in the workplace but in your everyday life post-pandemic. Other vital articles include implementing and executing a successful sanctions risk assessment program to mitigate risk at your financial institution and an article dealing with proliferation financing and the importance of recognizing that there are new players in the game when discussing proliferation threats and the role of the international community in mitigating proliferation financing risk.
In March 2022, we will be celebrating 20 years of ACAMS Today and ACAMS. Look for the ACAMS Today -special-anniversary edition at the beginning of March. We will be showcasing many of our members, how the industry has evolved and a few other interesting points of the last 20 years.
Beginning a new year typically brings hope. It is an opportunity to reflect on what we want to accomplish, learn or do with our time. Whatever we choose to focus on for 2022, may I recommend that you “stick with it until you get there.”
May the new year bring health, happiness and success to all of us.
Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS
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