United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced an expanded coalition of Senate support for the bipartisan Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act Monday. By expanding the coalition of support from the banking committee, Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing the gas pedal for more regulation of digital assets. Furthermore, the bill is mitigating the financial risks that come with the crypto ecosystem.
In focus, the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act closes loopholes and combats illicit financial activities using crypto. These include money laundering, ransomware attacks, sanctions evasion, drug trafficking, and elder fraud. Senators Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the entire Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and Senators John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) joined the bill as cosponsors.
What Senators Are Saying About The Crypto Bill
“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,” said Senator Warren. “I’m glad that five new senators are joining the fight to take action, including three members of the Banking Committee – our bipartisan bill is the toughest proposal on the table cracking down on crypto’s illicit use and giving regulators more tools in their toolbox.”
Existing co-sponsors of the bill include:
- Chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.),
- Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
- Other Democratic and Republican senators.
Additionally, regarding the bill and its effects, Maryland Senator Van Hollen says:
“The lack of basic legal safeguards around crypto opens up Americans to countless risks. What’s more, crypto has become the payment method of choice for terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and authoritarian regimes in order to fund their illicit activities.”
He adds, “Crypto should be governed by the same transparency rules as traditional banks to protect Americans and help ensure it isn’t used to facilitate illegal behavior by criminal enterprises and rogue nations.”
What Would Senator Warren’s Crypto Bill Accomplish?
Senator Elizabeth Warren is looking to eliminate crypto from the future of global finance with this coalition. She has been vocal about the dangers of cryptocurrency. In particular, according to Warren, crypto is used in online crime and by cyber terrorists and global criminals. Recently, she has cited the efforts by terrorists in the Israel-Hamas war being financially backed by crypto. Furthermore, she claims that North Korea uses crypto as a means to fund its nuclear farm.
The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act would accomplish the following:
- Extend Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) responsibilities. This includes Know-Your-Customer requirements, to digital asset wallet providers, miners, validators, and other network participants that may act to validate, secure, or facilitate digital asset transactions.
- Address a major gap concerning “unhosted” digital wallets – which allow individuals to bypass AML and sanctions checks.
- Direct FinCEN to guide financial institutions on mitigating the risks of handling, using, or transacting with digital assets that have been anonymized using digital asset mixers and other anonymity-enhancing technologies.
- Strengthen enforcement of BSA compliance by directing the Treasury Department to establish an AML/CFT compliance examination and review process for MSBs and other digital asset entities with BSA obligations and directing the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission to establish AML/CFT compliance examination and review processes for the entities they regulate.
- Extend BSA rules regarding reporting of foreign bank accounts to include digital assets by requiring United States persons engaged in a transaction with a value greater than $10,000 in digital assets through one or more offshore accounts to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) with the Internal Revenue Service.
- Mitigate the illicit finance risks of digital asset ATMs by directing FinCEN to ensure that digital asset ATM owners and administrators regularly submit and update the physical addresses of the kiosks they own or operate and verify customer and counterparty identity.