US Senators lobby agencies over the use of crypto in cyber crimes
US Senators are on the mission to ramp up anti-crypto rhetoric once again, demanding federal agencies to initiate action against the illegal use of digital wallets and assets in the country.
Maggie Hassan, US Senator, is the latest to sound alarm against the use of crypto wallets being used for payments for ransomware attacks. The US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has also sent a letter to several organizations, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Internal Revenue Service.
Hassan has voiced in these letters her concerns citing the latest case in New Hampshire where a sum of $2.3 million was stolen in the town of Peterborough through a cyber attack, and the amount was later converted into cryptocurrency.
She highlighted that “the anonymity” provided in crypto wallets has “facilitated” criminal activity in “a myriad of ways.” The digital assets, she added, were being used rampantly in drug sales on the dark web, terrorism financing, money laundering, ransomware attacks, organized crime, tax evasion and more.
In the letter, Hassan has also detailed the differences between Know Your Customer requirements and centralized exchange with decentralized exchanges that mainly operate without such requirements, stressing that “more KYC enforcement was needed.”
Hassan further questioned how action agencies were responding to curb the illegal use of crypto wallets for paying for ransomware attacks.
Alongside Hassan, Senator Elizabeth Warren also labelled cryptocurrencies as the “new shadow bank”.
Amid disagreements between Senators, lawmakers are working to present arguments from both sides as demands for regulatory framework mounts in the United States.
Earlier in September, Senator Cynthia Lummis, in an interview with the Reason Magazine, discussed her vision to create a crypto regulatory and statutory framework, saying that the policymakers in the US were doing all they could to ensure that stablecoins, Bitcoin and other tokens “can innovate” and that the USD can “also innovate to become a digital currency.”
Lummis also indicated that there would be many formats where people could use digital wallets with a user-friendly experience than a traditional “old-fashioned” form of currency.
Senators Ron Wyden, Pat Toomey and Lummis, have proposed an amendment for the controversial infrastructure bill, demanding “clearer terminology” around provisions of crypto tax.
A final approval for the infrastructure bill is pending for final vote on September 27 as per schedule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.