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Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins over 100 U.S. lawmakers urging for swift action on crypto-financed terrorism

TL;DR

  • Bipartisan group of lawmakers sends letter to Biden administration, raising concerns about cryptocurrency’s role in financing terrorism.
  • The letter calls for immediate governmental action and asks for a formal response by October 31, detailing steps taken to mitigate risks.
  • Both crypto-supportive and crypto-cautious lawmakers have signed the letter, indicating a broad range of concern over illicit uses of digital currencies.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and over a hundred lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have raised alarms about the role of cryptocurrency in funding terrorist activities. The group sent a letter to the Biden administration this week, urging immediate action to curb the use of digital currencies for illicit purposes. Moreover, the letter specifically references a report that claims Hamas and other militant groups utilized cryptocurrency for financing attacks in Israel.

Senator Warren has previously introduced a bill aimed at combating money laundering and sanctions evasion through cryptocurrencies. Despite initial hesitation from some colleagues, including Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown, the letter received bipartisan support. Among the crypto-friendly lawmakers who signed the letter were Representative Jake Auchincloss and Josh Gottheimer. These calls for action were not only urgent but timely, as they seek a response from the administration by the end of October.

Treasury Department takes preliminary steps

Coinciding with these political maneuvers, the Treasury Department announced fresh sanctions against a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange. The sanctions also extend to ten Hamas-affiliated groups and various individuals in multiple countries. This action follows a series of seizures conducted by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorist Financing, which targeted virtual currency wallets associated with Hamas.

The Treasury Department’s actions were supported by statements from the Crypto Council for Innovation, led by Ji Kim, who emphasized that the U.S. already has stringent anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations in place. Kim also stated that the crypto industry is ready to cooperate with lawmakers to eradicate illicit activity.

The concerns are not just an American issue but extend globally. Reports indicate that between August 2021 and June 2023, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad reportedly raised over $130 million in cryptocurrency. On October 7, a tragic attack in Israel resulted in over 1,200 deaths and nearly 3,000 wounded. Although it has not been confirmed that cryptocurrency directly funded these attacks, Hamas publicly solicited Bitcoin donations for their efforts.

The lawmakers’ plea to the administration comes as a direct response to this escalating issue. They specifically want to know what steps are being taken to counter the use of digital assets by terrorist organizations and also question accounts held at crypto exchanges like Binance and the use of Tether.

The bipartisan letter to the Biden administration highlights the high level of concern from lawmakers regarding the use of cryptocurrencies in illicit activities. Sent with a request for a formal response by October 31, the letter aims to expedite governmental action. It specifically queries the administration’s current efforts to mitigate the risks posed by the utilization of digital currencies in terrorist financing, drawing attention from both parties and lawmakers who have been both cautious and supportive of cryptocurrency.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Damilola Lawrence

Damilola is a crypto enthusiast, content writer, and journalist. When he is not writing, he spends most of his time reading and keeping tabs on exciting projects in the blockchain space. He also studies the ramifications of Web3 and blockchain development to have a stake in the future economy.

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