US Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Anti-Crypto Terror Finance Bill in Senate
A group of bipartisan United States lawmakers have introduced a bill to the Senate aimed at preventing terror organizations and their financial enablers from accessing financial aid in fiat and digital assets in the country.
Billed to be cited as The Terrorist Financing Prevention Act of 2023, it will block all avenues which terrorist organizations access funding for their operations.
The proposed law expands sanctions to foreign corporations that back US-designated terror groups through financing and other methods. The list of sanctions encompasses traditional finance companies and digital asset firms in a bid to tick all boxes.
“The Terrorist Financing Prevention Act of 2023, introduced by the Senators, aims to prevent Foreign Terrorist Organizations and their financial enablers, including those using digital assets, from accessing U.S. financial institutions, imposing sanctions and strict regulations to counteract these activities.”
United States to prohibit and ban foreign institutions
According to the draft law, the lawmakers seek to ban or impose strict liabilities for firms and institutions found in breach of terror financing. Specifically, it states that the President shall impose strict conditions for opening an account payable in the US by an organization guilty of the offense.
Similarly, the President shall prohibit any transaction according to the law that is carried out between a financial facility and a proscribed institution through digital assets.
The implementation of the Act when passed shall be in accordance with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act including punishments imposed on erring parties.
A notable feature of this bill states that the Secretary shall submit to the President any group or financial institution that has facilitated a terror transaction within 60 days of enactment.
Mitt Romney, among the backers of the bill, stated that the government has a role to counter terror finance through all forms including cryptocurrencies while criticizing the Oct 7 attacks on Israel.
“Our legislation would expand financial sanctions to cover all terrorist organizations including Hamas and it would equip the Treasury Department with additional resources to counter terrorism and address emerging threats involving digital assets.”
Terror organizations and crypto funding
In recent weeks, several authorities have spoken out against the potential use of cryptocurrencies to fund terrorist activities due to the lack of regulations in certain jurisdictions and ease of access.
Following the October 7 attacks on Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas received $41 million between August 2021 and June 2023 sparking wide outrage in the crypto community with regulators calling for tougher sanctions.
— Cryptonews.com (@cryptonews) November 13, 2023
However, Chainalysis termed the claims as overstated while also calling for an end to funding to all terror organizations.
“(We’ve) seen overstated metrics and flawed analyses of these terrorist groups’ use of cryptocurrency, and feel compelled to address some misconceptions.”
It also added that blockchain technology’s public nature and transparency will not be an effective method to finance terror activities.