Senator Elizabeth Warren recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the use of cryptocurrency in crime and sanctions evasion. During her testimony, Warren highlighted crypto’s use in funding weapons programs, supporting spying, and promoting cyber attacks. She noted that while much cryptocurrency-related crime is hidden, over $20 billion in illicit transactions took place in 2022. This estimate is in line with recent data from Chainalysis. Warren also cited that Russia and North Korea moved at least $8 billion through cryptocurrency.
Crypto’s Threat to National Security
Warren’s testimony also included information from Lieutenant General Scott D. Berrier and Avril D. Haines, Director of National Intelligence. Berrier acknowledged that North Korea’s use of stolen crypto to fund nuclear weapons programs is a recognized threat. Haines added that cryptocurrency not only contributes to North Korea’s weapons development but also poses a threat to network security. Warren also stated that Binance handled $8 billion of Iranian crypto transactions since 2018, including a portion of crypto earned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which operates the country’s largest Bitcoin mining operation.
Regulation of Crypto-Created Crime
Warren concluded her testimony by stating that she and Senator Roger Marshall plan to reintroduce a bill to increase regulation of crypto-created crime. This bill is different from securities regulations that aim to protect investors from fraud. Warren has been a harsh critic of cryptocurrency, previously attempting to advance a crypto regulation bill in December 2022. In late March, she announced that her re-election campaign would involve “building an anti-crypto army.”
Overall, Warren’s testimony raises concerns about the use of cryptocurrency in illicit activities and its potential threat to national security. The proposed bill aims to increase regulation and combat crypto-created crime.