Senator Warren’s Bipartisan Push to Combat Crypto Money Laundering Gains Momentum

Fredrik Vold
Last updated: | 1 min read
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Source: Screenshot of video Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s YouTube page

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has announced an increase in support for the bipartisan Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, which aims to tackle concerns around the use of crypto in illegal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking.

The legislation has gained backing from five additional senators, including Senators Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), all members of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

The proposed bill aims to reduce risks that Warren claims are associated with crypto by “closing loopholes” and “bringing the digital asset ecosystem into greater compliance” with established anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing frameworks.

In her latest announcement, Senator Warren stressed the urgency of this legislation, citing the Treasury Department’s apprehensions about the role of crypto in facilitating various illicit activities.

A well-known crypto critic, Senator Warren has consistently advocated for stricter regulations on crypto, highlighting their use in funding terrorist groups and criminal enterprises.

Supporting Senator Warren’s stance, Senator Van Hollen emphasized the need to subject entities in the crypto sector to the same transparency rules as traditional banks.

Expansion of the Bank Secrecy Act

The Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act seeks to expand the responsibilities outlined in the Bank Secrecy Act to various participants in the digital asset space, including wallet providers, miners, and network validators (also known as node operators).

It specifically addresses challenges related to “unhosted” digital wallets and aims to strengthen the enforcement of compliance with anti-money laundering standards.

“Unhosted” wallets are more commonly known in crypto circles as simply “wallets” or “non-custodial wallets.”

Senator Warren’s proposal has received strong criticism from members of the crypto community, with for instance the Head of Policy at Bitcoin Policy UK, Freddie New, calling it “absurd” that his kids who run a Bitcoin node at home should be classified as a “money services business.”

In the past, Senator Warren has taken aim at what she called “rogue nations” that are using crypto for terrorism and sanction evasion, and she has also repeatedly called for a crackdown on proof-of-work crypto mining in the US.