Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill this week to ramp up regulations and reporting requirements for Bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency industry. The goal is combating purported widespread use of digital assets to enable money laundering, terrorism, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren has introduced a bill to crack down on the alleged illicit use of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies
- The bill aims to extend regulations like KYC and transaction reporting to crypto to close perceived loopholes
- Warren cites money laundering, sanctions evasion, terrorism, and other criminal uses as justification
- The legislation comes as crypto adoption grows in the US ahead of a potential Bitcoin ETF decision
- Warren claimed North Korea funds nearly half its nuclear program via crypto according to a CNBC interview
The bill arrives as a bipartisan effort within the Senate Banking Committee, where Warren stressed the urgent need to crack down on platforms she believes provide avenues for criminals to profit.
“The Treasury Department is making clear that we need new laws to crack down on crypto’s use in enabling terrorist groups, rogue nations, drug lords, ransomware gangs, and fraudsters to launder billions in stolen funds, evade sanctions, fund illegal weapons programs, and profit from devastating cyberattacks,” Warren said.
Warren’s proposal would extend existing Bank Secrecy Act responsibilities like Know-Your-Customer checks to the crypto sector. It would also mandate transaction reporting, even for wallets outside the purview of exchanges. The overarching goal is to close off any loopholes allowing illicit crypto transfers.
The bill arrives just as Bitcoin adoption hits new highs in the US ahead of a potential spot Bitcoin ETF approval. However, Warren argues proper oversight remains lacking as threats continue emerging.
She pointed to claims that North Korea relies on cryptocurrencies to fund nearly half its nuclear weapons program. And cites broad endorsement from banking associations, prosecutors, consumer groups, and more.
The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act is a direct attack on technological progress and also a direct attack on our personal privacy and autonomy.
Make no mistake, while proposed as a solution to potential money laundering and terrorist financing, the bill is in fact a… pic.twitter.com/8oID1wECGL
— Neeraj K. Agrawal (@NeerajKA) December 11, 2023
All signal an urgent need, in Warren’s view, to mitigate risks posed by cryptocurrencies before they spiral out of control. She portrayed the legislation as the toughest crackdown tabled so far in terms of expanding regulator powers over digital currencies.
Detractors argue the blanket measures could styme innovation and adoption of cryptocurrencies for legitimate uses. They also contend illicit volumes make up a tiny fraction of broader crypto transaction volumes.
Regardless, Warren shows no signs of tempering aggressive calls to curb purported misconduct and criminal activity within the crypto economy. Ongoing Congressional and regulator debates will likely see increased clashes over exactly where to draw the lines.