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Elizabeth Warren Reveals Crypto Bill Now Has More Senate Cosponsors

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, known for her vocal opposition to digital assets within the U.S. government, recently shared news that five additional senators have endorsed her legislation aimed at combating money laundering.

Warren revealed on Dec. 11, 2023, that several senators, including Ben Ray Luján, Raphael Warnock, Laphonza Butler, John Hickenlooper and Chris V. Hollen, have thrown their support behind the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, a bill she refiled in July. This further builds upon the backing received from 14 other senators.

Warren stated that the legislation specifically addresses the illicit use of crypto assets for money laundering and terrorism financing. She expressed satisfaction in gaining new supporters, stating she was happy that five more senators, including a trio from the Committee on Banking, had joined the effort. “Our bipartisan proposal stands as the most robust measure to combat cryptocurrency’s illicit use, equipping regulators with enhanced tools,” she said

Reiterating a statement made during a Dec. 6, 2023, Senate Banking Committee hearing and subsequent interviews, Warren asserted that approximately 50% of North Korea’s missile program funding originated from digital assets. Her longstanding criticism of cryptocurrencies includes a suggestion in a March opinion piece for “The New York Times” that crypto investors played a role in the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

The proposed measure aims to impose stricter reporting requirements by extending the duties specified in the Bank Secrecy Act. This entails requiring reports on transactions utilizing unhosted wallets, expanding the scope of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations and more. The main objective is to improve compliance and close loopholes in the ecosystem of digital assets.

The legislation has already garnered bipartisan support from various senators and organizations, including the Massachusetts Bankers Association, Bank Policy Institute, U.S. Transparency International, Major County Sheriffs of America, Global Financial Integrity, National Consumers League, National District Attorneys Association and National Consumer Law Center.

Despite this support, critics argue that legislators should focus on addressing bad actors exploiting the technology rather than targeting digital assets as well as their foundational infrastructure. Cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman, however, expressed support for the legislation in a November Senate hearing, deeming it an obvious choice to resolve money laundering issues.

This legislative push comes amid the surging adoption and popularity of Bitcoin globally, especially in the United States. With the SEC set to decide next month on approving the first Bitcoin spot ETF in the country, the potential for substantial retail and institutional demand for the cryptocurrency looms large.

The regulatory landscape for the crypto industry in the U.S. is highly fluid at the moment, and companies such as Bit Digital Inc. (NASDAQ: BTBT) are keen to have clearly set rules that they can use to guide their operations and future plans. They are therefore likely to keep an eye on Capitol Hill over the coming months.

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