U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a longtime crypto critic, announced a new bill that would prevent bitcoin and cryptocurrency companies from doing business with sanctioned companies.
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The bill would crack down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to evade tough sanctions imposed on Russia, Belarus and wealthy oligarchs since the invasion of Ukraine.
The price of bitcoin has fluctuated wildly in recent weeks as international financial sanctions have intensified amid speculation that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies could be used by those looking to evade sanctions. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 despite the economic turmoil expected from the Ukraine war, pushing up bitcoin and smaller tokens ethereum, BNB, XRP, Terra’s luna, cardano, solana and avalanche. price.
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“No one can argue that Russia can evade all sanctions by moving all of its assets into cryptocurrencies,” former presidential candidate Warren said at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, where she introduced “Digital Asset Sanctions Compliance Enhancement Act. “But for Putin’s oligarchs who are trying to hide what you know is their 1 billion or 200 million wealth, cryptocurrency looks like a good option.”
“This is an authorization [U.S. president Joe Biden] Sanctions foreign cryptocurrency companies doing business with sanctioned Russian entities and authorizes the Minister of Finance to take action,” she said.
Jonathan Levine, co-founder of bitcoin and crypto analytics firm Chainalysis, spoke at the hearing, denying that those sanctioned could “jump from one blockchain to another” or use no identification encrypted wallets of information to evade sanctions. Encrypted mixing service.
“The scenario you describe, where an oligarch has $1 billion and is able to launder money, requires a lot of liquidity to obfuscate that money through the use of cryptocurrency,” Levine said.
The final draft of the bill proposed by Warren, obtained by The Block, would reportedly require the White House to collect a report on all crypto service providers with any ties to Russia, while also giving the U.S. Treasury the ability to ban crypto exchanges from trading with Any user associated with Russia.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be tasked with identifying cryptocurrency exchanges that may be at “high risk of evading sanctions” and reporting them to Congress.
The bill goes beyond sanctions against Russia and would authorize the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to identify users who send or receive more than $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
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Warren has become an outspoken critic of cryptocurrencies in recent years, slamming its lack of investor protections, its potential to destabilize the existing financial system and its impact on the environment. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major cryptocurrencies require a lot of energy to maintain their networks.
In a letter to six lawmakers around the world, Warren and seven other U.S. lawmakers wrote: “Given the unusually high energy use and carbon emissions associated with Bitcoin mining, mining operations have raised concerns about the global environment, local Concerns about the impact of system and consumer electricity costs.” Largest Bitcoin and Crypto Miner in January.
Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden signed a long-awaited executive order that tasked various federal departments and agencies with investigating cryptocurrencies and taking hold of the fast-growing market.