US Senator Elizabeth Warren called on Congress to ensure that regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have the tools to effectively regulate the crypto industry and crack down on crypto money laundering activities. “The current legal structure essentially holds a giant sign above cryptocurrency that says money laundering is taking place here,” the lawmaker stressed.
Senator calls on Congress to crack down on crypto money laundering
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said in an interview with Politico’s Morning Money on Wednesday that cracking down on money laundering is her “main focus” in terms of crypto-related legislation.
The senator confirmed that she will reintroduce her bill, titled the “Digital Assets Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2022.” Originally introduced last December, this law is the “most direct attack” on the personal freedom and privacy of cryptocurrency users, according to experts in the field.
Warren explained that money laundering is “not nearly as visible to the public” as fraud. “It takes place in the darkest shadows of the crypto world, but its impact on our national security and law enforcement is immense. … The current legal structure essentially holds a giant sign over cryptocurrency that says, this is money laundering,” the senator described, explaining:
This is not about inventing any new form of anti-money laundering rules. This is about applying exactly the same rules that apply in all other financial industries.
The chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, also said that crypto should be treated the same as other capital markets.
Senator Warren wants Congress to empower regulators to be effective ‘hit cops’
“There are two very different types of crypto problems,” Warren continued, noting that “one is consumer fraud.” The senator emphasized: “This is what we saw when FTX and other exchanges collapsed. It’s part of the pump and dump and the rug pulling and all the other ways that clients get ripped off.” Emphasizing that both Congress and regulators must do something, she detailed:
There are already many regulatory tools to deal with this. We need regulators to use those tools, and Congress must make sure those regulators have the resources they need to be effective beat cops.
SEC Chairman Gensler has often said that the securities regulator will “serve as the top cop” and crack down on non-compliant crypto companies. Senator Warren has pushed for the SEC to impose stricter rules on the crypto sector and use its full powers to regulate crypto trading.
Warren has long been a crypto skeptic. She has warned of a “cryptocurrency rush” that may need federal help and has repeatedly expressed concern about the environmental impact of bitcoin mining. She wants Congress and the Treasury Department to urgently adopt policies to mitigate crypto risks. After the collapse of the crypto exchange FTX, she also called on Fidelity Investments to stop offering bitcoin as an option in 401(k) retirement accounts.
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